National Sprinkler Week

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North Wales Fire and Rescue Service is supporting National Sprinkler Week (16th-22nd March 2015) to help safeguard people and businesses across the country.

Following the new regulations in April 2014 high risk properties such as care homes, converted student halls of residence, boarding houses and certain hostels require the installation of automatic fire sprinklers, and from January 2016, it will also be compulsory for all new and converted houses and flats to be fitted with sprinklers.

Gary Brandrick, Senior Fire Safety Manager for North Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said: "This week is designed to widen the awareness of the commercial and safety benefits of sprinklers in preventing loss and improving fire safety in businesses and homes across North Wales. We will be focusing on the benefits of sprinklers to businesses, including educational establishments such as schools and colleges.

"In a time of austerity it becomes more important than ever for businesses and educational institutions to ensure their key resources are protected, enabling them to be in a position to continue operating after a fire.

"Commercial and domestic sprinkler systems deliver benefits that are far greater than the cost of their installation and maintenance. They do much more for the UK than people recognize - safeguarding people, firefighters, jobs, homes, businesses, the economy and the environment.

"The vast majority of fires and resulting deaths and injuries take place in the home. Even a small fire can cause a massive amount of damage to property, and every day two people die and 50 are injured in fires in the UK, and it has been suggested that eight out of 10 businesses may not recover after a major fire; sprinkler systems can make all the difference - by helping to control the fire or even extinguish it completely.

"Sprinklers are the equivalent to having a firefighter ready and waiting in your home or business."

Fire Sprinkler Week 2015 conveys a simple message: controlling a fire as it starts is better than repairing the often extensive damage after it has spread.

Myths about sprinklers

Myth 1:
In a fire, every sprinkler head will activate, flooding my property. Individual sprinkler heads will only activate when the room temperature reaches a certain point. The heads operate as individual heat sensors - water is only released in the area where there is a fire. In 60% of cases, including fires in large commercial premises fires are controlled by the spray from four sprinklers or fewer. Firefighters often use 15 times more water from hoses to do the same job as a sprinkler does alone.

Myth 2:
Sprinklers are too expensive to install. In new buildings, the costs of installing sprinklers, considered over the life span of the building, work out economically - roughly equivalent to carpeting the same building. It is also likely that insurers will offer premium discounts to premises with sprinkler systems, and that policy excesses will be lower.

Myth 3:
Sprinklers are too expensive to maintain. Annual maintenance costs of domestic fire sprinkler systems is between £75-£150 per year (£6.25-£12.50 per month). That's a lot less than the cost of replacing home contents if a fire should occur.

Myth 4:
Sprinklers are ugly and affect the design of a building. Sprinklers actually allow design freedoms, if considered when a building is being built. They may allow larger rooms and a reduction in partitioning, or allow adaptation of layouts to better meet the occupier's needs. Sprinklers can be recessed or flush-mounted and unobtrusive.

Myth 5:
Sprinklers are unreliable. Worldwide records show that only 1 in 16 million sprinklers installed per year will result in failure. Every sprinkler head is independently tested before leaving the manufacturing plant.

Myth 6:
Sprinklers only work on fires that can be put out with water. Sprinklers can now be foam enhanced to control flammable liquid, chemical and petroleum fires.

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