According to London Fire Brigade figures, fires in London schools have increased by 34 per cent in just one year. There were a total of 90 fires in preschools, nurseries, primary schools and secondary schools in 2017, up from 67 in 2016.
In addition, the Brigade’s recently released Fire Facts report shows that fires in educational buildings, including universities and colleges increased from 20 to 28 over the same period. The report about Fires in Greater London is the most in-depth review of fire data in the London Fire Brigade’s 150-year history.
The Brigade has been campaigning for a number of years now to make fire sprinklers mandatory in new schools during any major refurbishment work. However, last year 184 London schools ignored the Brigade’s advice to have sprinklers fitted as part of their building plans or refurbishment work, despite that being the most cost-effective time to fit a sprinkler system.
London Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton said: “The Government should do their homework and realise that 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 and affects parents by closing breakfast and after school clubs.
“Sprinklers are the only fire safety system that detects a fire, suppresses a fire and raises the alarm. They save lives and protect property. While I ultimately want all schools to have sprinklers, the easiest time is to fit them are when schools are being built or refurbished and I find it staggering that such a simple safety measure is so easily omitted from the designs.”
Between January 2010 and December 2017, there were 707 fires in London schools. Only 14 of those schools had sprinkler systems fitted. The average cost of a large school fire is £2.8 million. On July 30th 2009, most of a school in Napier Grove, Hoxton was destroyed by fire. It’s simply not cost effective to ignore the facts.
Mandatory fitting of fire sprinklers in schools would have long-term cost savings in the event of any fire. In Scotland it is mandatory for sprinklers to be included in all new schools and major refurbishments.
At Applications Engineering we fully support the London Fire Brigade’s campaign for the mandatory fitting and retrofitting of fire sprinkler systems in all schools, universities and colleges.