London Fire Brigade

London’s fire chief talks to BBC Breakfast about importance of sprinklers in schools

25 October 2017

Only four new and refurbished schools installed sprinklers, despite the Brigade’s recommendations last year.

The Brigade was consulted on 184 London schools being refurbished or built and our advice to install sprinklers was taken in only four of these cases.

Recent Brigade figures show there were 759 fires in London schools between 2009 and July 2017 and sprinklers were only installed in 15 of these cases.

London Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton told BBC Breakfast this morning about the importance of sprinklers in schools.

Commissioner Cotton said: “Fires in schools cause major disruption to pupils. Breakfast and after school clubs are cancelled and often, a costly repair bill could have been avoided.

“If they are incorporated from the design stage, sprinklers are around 1% of the total build cost.”

The interview took place at Stanley Park High School in Carshalton, which suffered a fire in 2013 that was suppressed by a sprinkler system.

Last month, the Brigade renewed its calls for sprinklers to be installed in residential high-rise buildings and schools.

Fire crews are called to more than 80 fires a year in London’s schools and in most cases, sprinklers are not fitted – meaning millions of pounds are wasted repairing fire damage and also water damage from fire crew hoses.

The Brigade has long been campaigning for sprinklers to be mandatory in schools, as they are in Scotland and Wales.