In January 2017, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service hosted a conference on social housing at their impressive headquarters in Stone, Staffordshire. This conference was attended by Chief Fire Officer Becci Bryant. The conference aimed at encouraging housing stock owners and developers to install automatic fire sprinklers to improve fire safety in our area. Sprinklers are highly regarded for their effectiveness but there are still many people who have misconceptions about how they operate, damaged caused and other issues; this conference set out to dispel these myths.
Due to the strong links that we have with our local Fire and Rescue Service, Project Fire was invited to speak to share our experience of retrofitting sprinkler systems in social housing. Our presentation talked about some of the issues we faced, and solutions we found, when installing systems to projects such as Matthew’s Walk (Stoke-on-Trent) and Sycamore Court (Burton-on-Trent). These included, (a) finding space for sprinkler equipment including water storage tanks, (b) methods of fixing pipework and sprinkler heads that both looked smart and caused minimal disruption to the building fabric and also (c) how we managed to work around the tenants, respect their homes and keep them informed about the works.
The whole conference was a great success with all of the top housing developers attending the day, many noting the importance of expert knowledge into how sprinklers work, the equipment involved and how they are installed so that they can make informed decisions in the future. Another highlight of the day included a live demonstration of a residential fire sprinkler system in action!