Fire prompts calls for sprinkler systems

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Fire prompts calls for sprinkler systems

Posted: 13/10/2008 21:50:51

Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) is urging all housing landlords and associations to consider fitting sprinkler systems after a serious incident near Canterbury at the weekend.

A 72-year-old man was taken to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation after escaping a blaze in sheltered accommodation in Nargate Street, Littlebourne, during the early hours of Sunday morning.

Following the incident, KFRS is due to hold discussions with Canterbury City Council about the merits of sprinkler systems. Its “Safer with Sprinklers” campaign is calling for these potentially life-saving devices to be installed in the homes of the most vulnerable people, including the elderly and the disabled.

KFRS Assistant Director of Community Safety, Steve Griffiths said: “The resident was extremely lucky in that he managed to get out of his ground floor flat and our crews did an excellent job in containing the blaze when they arrived just seven minutes after the alarm was raised.
However, because of the man’s age and health, it's clear that we could have been dealing with a tragedy. This fire highlights the importance of sprinkler systems because they raise the alarm and tackle the blaze immediately, increasing a resident's opportunity to escape. They also limit the amount of damage caused so that property can be refurbished and returned to normal in a much quicker period.”

KFRS control room operators received the first call to the incident at 5.17am and sent three pumps, two from Canterbury and one from Aylesham. Crews wore breathing apparatus to tackle the blaze and managed to contain it to one flat although communal areas were smoke logged.

Steve Griffiths added: “We are working hard to dispel the myths surrounding sprinklers systems, for example that they cost lots of money and go off accidentally. The truth is they save lives and we are urging anyone with a responsibility for looking after vulnerable people to consider installing them.”

For more information on the KFRS “Safer with Sprinklers” campaign, visit our website www.kent.fire-uk.org/sprinklers

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