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Sprinklers - Only a part of the complete fire safety solution

Tuesday 21st May 2019

NFCC National Sprinkler Week 2019 (19th – 24th May)

Sprinkler installation is very much in the public eye as the best way to reduce the effect of catastrophic fires and more importantly, to save lives. We understand that physical, tangible products give genuine reassurance and seeing these in action prove their worth. It is also worth noting that sprinklers have excellent fire loss statistics.

The National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) reports that through their own research, “sprinkler systems operate on 94% of occasions, demonstrating very high reliability.”

“In addition, sprinkler systems are highly effective when they do operate; extinguishing or containing the fire on 99% of occasions. This research also demonstrated that in both converted and purpose built flats, sprinklers are 100% effective in controlling fires.”
- https://www.nationalfirechiefs.org.uk/News/sprinkler-week-2019-sunday-launch

What is not discussed however is other vital, but often overlooked systems and procedures that also create a safer environment for people to reside in. Whilst the sprinkler debate is more focussed on domestic fire safety, a third of your life is spent at work – so it is important that these buildings are safe also.

BAFE fully supports the NFCC’s National Sprinkler Week campaign, but it must also be remembered the actions that should be performed (and reviewed/maintained regularly) already to mitigate the risk from fire occurring in the first place and safely evacuating people if a fire does occur.

The harder sell for the fire industry is the fundamental value of establishing and regularly reviewing a quality fire risk assessment. Let’s not forget this is a mandatory requirement by law and by not producing one that is (and remains) “suitable and sufficient” for the building has strong legal ramifications. Maintenance of systems in place, such as fire alarms and emergency lighting, is also overlooked but crucial in effectively alerting and evacuating people from a building in the event of a fire.

Whilst BAFE do not cover all services, it is strongly recommended to use of Third Party Certificated providers (certificated via UKAS Accredited Certification Bodies) for all fire safety measures. For sprinkler system contractors for example, BAFSA (British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association) provide information on the Third Party Certification schemes available:

“The Loss Prevention Certification Board operates the LPS 1048 scheme for commercial automatic sprinkler installations and the LPS 1301 scheme specifically for Residential & Domestic sprinkler installations.

Warrington Certification Ltd operates separate FIRAS schemes for commercial & industrial sprinkler installations and Residential & Domestic sprinkler installations.

IFC Certification Ltd (IFCC) operate separate schemes for installers of Commercial & Industrial sprinkler installations (SDI 23) and for installers of Residential & Domestic sprinkler installations (SDI 22).”

- https://www.bafsa.org.uk/certification-compliance-competency/

NFCC National Sprinkler Week 2019 runs from 19th – 24th May. Further information can be found via the NFCC website https://www.nationalfirechiefs.org.uk/2019-Sprinkler-Week 

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