BSA welcomes research report on sprinkler system performance

  • 15 Jun 2017

An independent study on behalf of the National Fire Sprinkler Network (NFSN) and the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) which provides detailed analysis on fires in UK premises, has found that sprinkler systems control or extinguish fires in 99% of cases.

The report carried out by Optimal Economics has been welcomed by the Business Sprinkler Alliance (BSA) and provides detailed and comprehensive analysis of data on the activation and performance of sprinkler systems used to control fires in buildings. 

This extensive study looked at two aspects to the performance of sprinkler systems – operational reliability measures the degree to which systems operate as designed when required, and performance reliability measures the effectiveness of the systems when activated.

“Data was supplied by every single one of the United Kingdom’s fire and rescue services. Thousands of incidents have been analysed, so we can provide definitive evidence of the effectiveness and reliability of sprinkler systems in the UK,” said Julian Parsons, Lead Officer for Automatic Water Suppression Systems at the National Fire Chiefs Council. “I feel it provides a compelling case for further inclusion of sprinklers in the built environment so that lives can be saved, property can be protected and UK PLC can continue to grow.”

There were 945 cases analysed in which sprinklers were activated and the impact of the sprinkler system is known for 677 fires of these cases.  Across all fires for which data available, the sprinkler systems contained or controlled the fires in 62% of incidents and extinguished the fire in 37% of incidents. This equates to an impressive performance effectiveness of sprinkler systems at 99% across all building types.

In terms of operational reliability, only 57 out of 879 cases were identified where the sprinkler system could have expected to work but did not showing they are reliable 94% of the time.  A satisfactory fire sprinkler maintenance regime is critical to ensure systems operate as designed in the event of a fire. 

Terry McDermott, Chair of the National Fire Sprinkler Network said: “The data clearly proves that sprinklers are both effective and efficient in a wide range of fire scenarios and building types, affording greater levels of fire protection to people, property and the environment.”

Iain Cox, BSA Chairman and former Chief Fire Officer of Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “This recent study is further robust and compelling evidence that sprinklers are one of the most effective fire safety measures that you can install.”

The BSA is calling for better education on the substantial benefits that fire sprinklers can deliver to the business community and wider economy and calling for government to review existing building standards to bring policy on fire sprinklers in warehouses in line with competitor economies.

To view the report please click here and for more information about the Business Sprinkler Alliance visit www.business-sprinkler-alliance.org

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