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Norfolk fire chiefs campaign for sprinkler systems in more homes

PUBLISHED: 08:08 04 April 2015

Roy Harold, deputy chief fire officer for Norfolk. Picture: Denise Bradley

Roy Harold, deputy chief fire officer for Norfolk. Picture: Denise Bradley

copyright: Archant 2013

Fire chiefs have called for sprinklers to be installed in properties in a bid to prevent recently-seen tragedies.

Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service’s deputy chief Roy Harold said no one would die in a building fire - nor would homes or businesses be devastated by flames - if properties were kitted out with the life-saving systems.

The message comes after Chris Milburn, 50, recently died in a house fire in North Elmham, the MacDonald family lost everything when a blaze swept through their uninsured Norwich home, historic country house Oulton Hall in north Norfolk was destroyed by fire and a North Lopham thatched home was gutted.

Mr Harold said if everyone had sprinklers in their homes, it would be like having their own personal firefighter.

He said: “If you have a smoke alarm that’s wonderful but say for example you are disabled and you can’t move on your own, then in that situation the smoke alarm will go off and you can’t do a lot about it.

“Sprinklers never fail, they have been going for about 150 years and they are infallible.”

Mr Harold said it costs about £1,500 to have sprinklers fitted in a new domestic property and about two per cent of the build cost of a commercial building.

Unlike what is often depicted in Hollywood movies, not all sprinklers will go off when there is a fire. As the system is heat activated, only the sprinkler near to the fire will release water. Water from the activated sprinkler will cool the atmosphere around the fire, which will reduce the rate of burning, the production of smoke and will protect the surrounding materials, limiting fire spread.

In Wales, all new build homes have had to have sprinkler systems since 2013.

To watch a video of how a sprinkler system works, go to this story online.

Are you campaigning for improved safety measures? Email kate.scotter@archant.co.uk

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