London Fire Brigade

Sprinkler week call to stop ignoring benefits in care homes

19 March 2015

Four fire deaths, 30 injuries and 530 fires in London's care homes last year shows the need for sprinklers to be installed to protect vulnerable people, the Brigade claims.

New figures, released during Sprinkler Week, show there were over 10 fires a week in care homes and sheltered accommodation in 2014.

The stark statistics shows the need for sprinklers in these types of accommodation to reduce the number of fires.

Neil Orbell, Head of Fire Safety, said: "Older people, as well as people with mental health problems and those with mobility issues, are the group most at risk from fire and we are concerned by the number of vulnerable people like this who are still harmed or killed by fire in places where they should be safe.

"That's why we want to see all residential care homes fitted with sprinklers. The number and regularity of care home fires that the Brigade attends  is clear evidence that builders, developers, local authorities and private providers need to stop ignoring their benefits.

"We believe that sprinklers are a potentially life saving tool that can be effective in stopping fires from spreading and putting them out quickly.

"By doing this they can also help reduce the numbers of deaths and injuries from fire, particularly in buildings occupied by people with reduced mobility. They also reduce the risks to firefighters."

In Scotland there is already a requirement within Building Standards for all new build residential care buildings to have sprinkler systems installed and we want the same level of protection in London.

Our Fifth London Safety Plan, which sets out how the Brigade will work over the next three years, includes a target to reduce fires in care homes and sheltered housing by three per cent by March 2016.

It also includes a commitment to campaign and promote opportunities for councils and housing providers to provide sprinklers as a cost effective way of saving property and protecting the lives of residents most at risk from fire.