We see the promotion of sprinklers as the next step not only in protecting vulnerable people but also in protecting businesses and the vital community infrastructure. There is overwhelming evidence that the risk to human life in fires can be minimised through the installation of automatic water suppression systems.
Our fire service has pledged £250,000 to help make sure that the homes where the most vulnerable people live are protected by sprinkler systems. This money will be used to provide match funding to fit sprinkler systems and protect the most vulnerable people in the County. The funding is available to Local Authorities, Housing Associations and charities. Those at highest risk will be given priority access to the fund.
If your application is approved, you will be informed in writing of how much you will be awarded. The maximum award will be 50% of the cost. Grants will be paid within 30 days of a final inspection by ECFRS to ensure that the system is installed to the correct standard.
The truth: Only the sprinkler head(s) directly affected by the fire is triggered.
The truth: Sprinklers attack the fire quickly and directly so less water is needed. As they also operate the fire alarm, the flow can be quickly turned off when the fire is out.
The truth: Operational smoke detectors do save lives, however they do nothing to extinguish a growing fire.
The truth: The odds of winning the lottery are greater than the 16 million to one chance of a sprinkler malfunction.
The truth: Modern sprinklers are specially designed to meet the needs of architects in offices, hotels, shops, hospitals and prestige buildings. They are compact and in most buildings the public are usually unaware that sprinklers are fitted.
Miniature sprinklers are little bigger than a 50p piece and are neat. They can be fitted with ceiling rosettes and painted to match any colour scheme.
Concealed sprinklers are recessed and covered by a flat plate flush with the ceiling. They are unobtrusive and almost invisible. Concealed sprinklers are ideal for clean areas, where there is restricted headroom or vandalism is a problem.
The truth: Reports of water damage from fires in buildings with sprinklers are often exaggerated. Only the sprinklers over a fire open. All the others stay shut. A sprinkler opening by accident is almost unheard of.
Firefighters often use significantly more water from hoses to do the same job as a sprinkler.
A valuable item sprayed with water from a sprinkler as it puts out a fire can usually be recovered or restored. One that is burnt to a cinder and flushed down the drain by a fire hose is another matter!
If there is a fire the water from one or two sprinklers is a small price to pay for saving a complete building, its contents or even a life.
Why should you install sprinklers?
Sprinklers, and other Automatic Fire Suppression Systems (AFSS), can save lives, homes, and businesses. They provide protection from fire damage and, most importantly, they give people a greater chance of getting out if there is a fire. By reducing the damage and severity of a fire, they can also save money, too.
When sprinklers operate, they contain or extinguish the fire on 99% of occasions
Who are sprinkler good for?
Everybody. Though there are some organisations, groups and property types who could particularly benefit from sprinkler installation. These include:
- Care homes or places where people with any mobility issues live
- Heritage buildings
- The homes of very vulnerable people
- Specialist housing
- Residential properties over 18m in height – including student accommodation
- Hotels, B&Bs and hostels
- Complex and deep sub surface structures such as basements
- Large warehouses
- Firefighters – when we need to enter burning buildings on search and rescue operations, sprinklers significantly reduce the risks to firefighters
Schools are one of the property types where really significant benefits can be achieved by sprinklers. As well as the obvious safety benefits for students and staff, reducing the risk and impact of fire is good for the local community. A little forward thinking and investment can stop a vital community resource being lost.
We are not the only people who think so. The Department of Education's Building Bulletin 100: Design for fire safety in schools, includes a expectation that ‘all new schools should have fire sprinklers installed except in a few low risk schools’. To this end, we continue to work with schools, colleges and education authorities to ensure that the benefits of sprinklers are fully considered.
Want to apply for funding?
Applications can be made to the Service by downloading the form at the bottom of this page and returning it to us. In some circumstances, a Fire Engineer from Essex County Fire and Rescue Service will visit to assess suitability for the fitting of sprinklers.