The East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service is calling for more sprinklers to be installed in commercial properties after a fire was prevented from taking hold in a busy Brighton car park when a car caught fire. The fire was contained as a direct result of sprinklers, which were triggered and helped to extinguish the fire. It is not known how the car, in the basement of the car park, caught fire.
According to a report by the British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association (BAFSA), fire crews from Uckfield, Seaford, Lewes, Roedean, Brighton and Hove attended the fire in The Lanes car park in Brighton’s Black Lion Street at 14:18 on 22nd July. Three police cars also attended the scene. The fire, believed to have been started accidentally, was extinguished by the crews who used six sets of breathing apparatus, one hose reel and one main jet.
On the Brighton car park fire, Andy Gausden, Head of Business Safety at East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, said “As demonstrated in this case, sprinklers can significantly reduce fire, heat and smoke damage. The good news is that they have become more accessible and cost effective for installation in commercial and residential premises.”
The fire service is keen to get the message across that fire sprinklers do more than people realise. They argue that sprinklers safeguard:
- The economy
- The environment
Greater uptake of sprinklers would ensure needless fires do not hinder economic progress, making the country more competitive and resilient. Commercial fires cost the UK economy more than £2bn every year. The Department for Communities and Local Government estimate that the cost of a fire fatality is £1.65 million. Yet we know from the tragic loss of life in the Grenfell Tower fire that a total cost cannot be placed on scenarios such as this.
It isn’t just bricks and mortar damage that needs to be considered when we speak of the huge cost of fire. Potential loss of life has no price. The cost to the mental health of survivors of tragedies such as Grenfell also comes without a price tag. Though 700 adults and children affected by the Grenfell tower are currently receiving treatment by a mental health service and this alone is estimated to be costing £10 million. The lasting effect of this tragedy on people’s lives cannot be measured.
At Applications Engineering we will continue to support the campaign for the retrofitting of fire sprinklers in all buildings, including residential and commercial properties.