Fire services challenge myths about residential sprinkler systems


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Triangle Fire reports successful extinguishing of Essex hall of residence fire

Triangle Fire has recently brought to attention a significant example of fire safety efficacy in a communal kitchen of a hall of residence in Essex.

The incident involved a hot oil spillage from a chip pan in a six-storey building.

Remarkably, the fire was extinguished by the actuation of one concealed sprinkler head, with the fire contained to the room of origin and no injuries reported.

The onsite security staff promptly executed the premises’ emergency plan in line with the fire strategy.

Sprinkler systems prove effective against chip pan fires

This incident marks the seventh of its kind reported to, challenging the misconception that residential sprinklers are ineffective against fires involving chip pans.

In each instance, the fires were successfully extinguished or controlled.

The British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association (BAFSA) has released an informative video showcasing the evident benefits of sprinklers in such scenarios.

Viewers can access the video through a provided link.

Statistical data and recent incidents underscore the importance of fire safety

Fire statistics from the financial year 2019/20, collated from incidents attended by Fire & Rescue Services, show that 1494 instances involved chip pan fires in dwellings.

The danger posed by fires in student accommodations was starkly highlighted by the 2019 fire at the ‘Cube’ in Bolton.

The rapid spread and severe impact of the fire were alarming.

According to a press release by the Greater Manchester Fire Rescue Service (GMFRS), the immediate and complete evacuation of the premises was crucial in saving many lives.

It is noted that the ‘Cube’ did not have sprinkler systems installed, as detailed in the GMFRS Cube Incident Report.

IFSJ Comment

The recent report from Triangle Fire on the successful use of sprinklers in an Essex hall of residence adds to the growing evidence supporting the effectiveness of residential sprinkler systems.

The incident, along with similar cases reported to, provides practical examples that dispel myths about the limitations of sprinklers, especially in scenarios involving chip pan fires.

The comprehensive video released by BAFSA further illustrates this point, offering clear visual evidence of the benefits of such systems.

This incident, alongside the broader context of fire safety data and the tragic fire at the ‘Cube’ in Bolton, underlines the critical need for appropriate fire safety measures in residential buildings, particularly in student accommodations.

The absence of sprinklers in the ‘Cube’ incident serves as a sombre reminder of the potential consequences of inadequate fire safety provisions.

As the industry moves forward, it is imperative to consider these learnings and implement effective fire safety strategies, including the adoption of sprinkler systems, to safeguard lives and properties.

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