News release text
Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) and Gravesham Borough Council have joined forces to provide life-saving equipment, to residents in a Northfleet high-rise building, which is being showcased to coincide with National Sprinkler week (3 to 9 February 2014).
The Carl Ekman House initiative involves fitting automatic fire sprinklers in each of the 52 flats in the 14 floor tower block. Residents were invited along to an information event on Thursday (6 February) to see the sprinkler system that has already been installed in three of the empty flats.
KFRS’s Assistant Director Operations, Sean Bone-Knell, said: “Fire sprinklers are incredibly effective in saving lives and protecting property. They not only warn of fire but also act immediately to contain it – even if no one is present. They are very reliable. Records show that the chance of accidental operation in service is 1:16,000,000 (one in sixteen million). Less than your chance of winning the lottery! “
Carl Ekman House residents Mr & Mrs PennellResidents who attended the event saw how small and discrete these installations are; they were able to gain a better understanding of how sprinklers work and dispel any myths or concerns they may have had.
Cllr Susan Howes, Lead Member for Housing at Gravesham Council said: “We are pleased that Kent Fire and Rescue Service is supporting us on this initiative. It’s one of the council’s top priorities to improve safety for our residents and to help create safer buildings for the people of Gravesham ”
Resident Graham Broadbent said: “Initially I had concerns about the piping but it isn’t too intrusive and it was useful having the technical process explained by Kent Fire and Rescue Service. Hopefully it’s not something that will ever get used.”
Mrs Stella Pennell said: “I’m pleased that we’ll be safer in our homes. It’s a very neat job, much better than I expected.”
Note to Editors:
Photo shows: Carl Ekman House residents, Mr Bob and Mrs Stella Pennell.
Sprinklers activate when a certain level of heat is detected at the ceiling. They spray water reducing the fire and limiting spread. Only sprinklers close to the fire will activate and the amount of water spray will be limited to the area affected by the fire.
The system is triggered by excessive heat. As well as saving lives, sprinkler systems can reduce fire damage by up to 80%.
The £160,000 scheme is being part funded by Gravesham Borough Council and KFRS.
To date no one has died in a fire in a house with sprinklers in the UK.
To see how quickly a fire can take hold, watch this short video http://youtu.be/3RkCGKHfYVg for more information on sprinklers and how they work, visit: www.kent.fire-uk.org/your_business/sprinklers
Home fire sprinklers save lives in combination with a variety of other measures, including: people being aware of fire risks and how they can reduce them. Having working smoke alarms and a fire escape plan, so that everyone in your home knows what to do in the event of fire breaking out.