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Last updated: 07/08/2019, 8:46 AM

All London school fires this year had no sprinklers fitted, new Brigade figures reveal

07/08/2019 00:05
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Shocking new figures released today show that no schools, which have had fires this year, had sprinklers fitted.

This year alone, London Fire Brigade have attended 57 fires in schools in the capital and new figures released by the Brigade show that not a single school had an automatic fire suppression system (AFSS) fitted.

The Brigade has long been calling for sprinklers to become a mandatory requirement in schools. In particular, we want sprinklers to be mandatory in all new school builds and for all schools to be retrofitted with sprinklers during major refurbishment.

Sprinklers are especially important during the summer holidays when buildings are empty and fires can smoulder undetected, causing extensive and expensive damage.

Sprinklers save lives and protect property

Charlie Pugsley, Deputy Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety, said: “It is shocking that we have been campaigning for a number of years to make sprinklers mandatory in new schools and retrofitted during major refurbishments and yet this year, every school fire we have been called to has had no sprinklers fitted.

“Sprinklers are the only fire safety system that detects a fire, suppresses a fire and can raise the alarm. Sprinklers save lives and protect property. Millions of pounds are wasted every year repairing fire damage in London’s schools when sprinklers could have prevented the spread of fire.

“This is not just about saving money; when a school is closed it disrupts a child’s education, impacts on the local community and affects parents by closing breakfast and after school clubs.”

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Last week marked the ten year anniversary of a devastating fire at Thomas Fairchild School in Napier Grove, Hoxton. At the height of the incident, 15 fire engines and more than 100 firefighters attended the scene and crews remained at the school for more than 10 hours.      

The school was closed for almost three years after the fire while it was rebuilt and the school’s 300 pupils were schooled at two different locations.

Charlie Pugsley added: “The easiest time is to fit sprinklers when schools are being built or refurbished. I find it staggering that such a simple safety measure is so easily omitted from the designs.”

In all school fires attended by the Brigade since 2014, there have only been 13 cases where sprinklers have been fitted.