Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service has renewed its calls for the Government to take action, following a Coroner’s recommendation for water sprinklers to be fitted to existing high-rise homes.
The service says it fully supports the announcement by the Southampton and New Forest Coroner who also called for changes to building regulations for electrical cable supports and modifications to breathing apparatus. This follows an inquest into the deaths of two firefighters in a tower block in Southampton.
Chris Enness, executive director/ deputy chief executive of Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We welcome these recommendations but would go further.
“We want to see the installation of residential sprinklers in all new build accommodation, irrespective of height, and the retro-fitting of sprinklers in accommodation for vulnerable people, including residential care homes.
“Further, we are urging the Government to take on board the advice of senior fire professionals and building research experts and review current policy for fire risk. We have to prevent tragedies such as the Shirley Towers fatalities from happening again.”
He added that a water sprinkler system was the safest and most cost effective way of ensuring a fire was suppressed, or even extinguished, before firefighters arrived at the scene.
He said: “Sprinklers reduce the number of deaths and injuries, they minimise damage to property and consequently the financial costs and recovery time, and they help protect firefighters who have to enter buildings on fire.”
Research published by the Building Research Establishment in March 2012 showed that residential sprinklers fitted as an additional safety measure were cost effective for all residential care homes, most blocks of purpose-built flats and larger blocks of converted flats and traditional bedsit type HMOs.