Two dead, two hundred plus evacuated…

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Two dead, two hundred plus evacuated…

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It must be time to consider fitting automatic fire sprinklers in all hotels?

On the 18th December 2017, Dame Judith Hackitt published her interim report on the Independent Review of Building Standards and Fire, following the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

Sadly on the same day, two young men lost their lives in a fire, which severely damaged a hotel on Loch Lomond in Scotland and required the rescue and evacuation of 200 guests.

Earlier that day 47 guests were evacuated from a hotel, which was severely damaged by fire in North Wales.

Both the fire in the Cameron House Hotel on Loch Lomond and the fire in the Gateway to Wales Hotel on Deeside spread rapidly, causing a number of guests to require rescue by the Fire and Rescue Services.

Sadly neither hotel were fitted with automatic fire sprinklers. Had sprinklers been fitted they would have controlled the fire or extinguished it and prevented the loss of two lives.

Both hotels have had major refurbishments in the past. to ensure that guests are able to enjoy the facilities provided to the full. However would it not have been money well spent if some of the money had been spent on an automatic fire sprinkler system ensuring the guests safety as well as their comfort?

Data from the Fire Protection Association (FPA) suggests that direct losses from fires in hotels and boarding houses is in excess of £4 million which equates to 2.0% of the total cost of all fires in the UK.

International hotel chains have long recognised the life safety and property protection benefits of comprehensive fire sprinkler protection and larger hotel chains, notably Marriott, Hilton and Starwood, have been routinely installing sprinkler systems in their hotels worldwide.

Looking at today’s loss of life and the horrendous experience that hotel guests were put through in the early hours of the morning, it must be time to consider fitting automatic fire sprinklers in all hotels?

Automatic fire sprinklers do save lives and property and protect firefighters, do not delay fit them now.

How it’s done… In developing a design for a hotel sprinkler system, the sprinkler specialist will be required to undertake a comprehensive survey of the building.  An important feature of the survey is liaison with the hotel management and project team to develop the appropriate pipework routing, civil work details and plant/ housing location, together with programming the works to dovetail with the operation of the hotel and the time allocated for the works.

The sprinkler heads will be strategically positioned in hotel bedrooms, corridors, kitchens etc. In virtually all cases pipework and sprinkler heads can be concealed. Each sprinkler head is its own heat detector and operates at a predetermined temperature normally 68°C. Once this temperature has been reached, the sprinkler head operates and a fine spray of water is discharged on to the fire.

A common myth about automatic sprinklers is that all the heads operate simultaneously; this is completely untrue. Only the sprinkler heads closest to the fire will operate, thus minimising the water damage. It is estimated by the FPA, that 80% of fires are controlled with 10 sprinkler heads or fewer.

WHAT IS BAFSA?

The British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association (BAFSA) is the UK’s leading professional trade association for the fire sprinkler industry and celebrated its 40th birthday in 2014.

WHAT WE DO

BAFSA’s members install more than 85% of the sprinkler and watermist installations in the UK and include a significant majority of third-party certified sprinkler installers as well as manufacturers; suppliers; contractors; insurers; the fire and rescue services and others with an interest in the field. Increasingly the association has offered a home to smaller companies just entering the market and now represents a large number of companies offering the installation of domestic and residential fire sprinkler systems. Many of the association’s members also design and install watermist systems.

BAFSA is dedicated to making sure that sprinkler systems are installed to the highest professional standards.

BAFSA’s primary objectives include providing authoritative information on the benefits of sprinkler systems and how sprinklers can play a significant role in saving life and property from the devastating effects of fire. To this end, BAFSA works closely with the government, fire and rescue service, building control officers, insurers, architects and town planners.

Published December 2017

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