With just one month until the commemoration of the Great Fire of London, more than a dozen organisations have so far confirmed their support for proposals to ensure sprinklers are installed in more high-risk buildings, put forward by the Association of British Insurers (ABI).
Several major fire brigades as well as the Chief Fire Officers Association and a number of fire prevention bodies have all added their names to a call for action on sprinkler regulations to help prevent major and potentially deadly fires.
The ABI has issued the following call to Government: "As the three hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the Great Fire of London approaches we urge the Government to modernise fire prevention rules by legislating for compulsory sprinklers in all new schools and care homes, and warehouses over 2,000m2. Fires put lives at risk, cause disruption to our cities and transport networks and hurt the economy; failing to install sprinklers in schools and care homes is putting at risk the lives of the most vulnerable in our society."
- East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service
- Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service
- London Fire Brigade
- West Midlands Fire Service
- Arson Prevention Forum (APF)
- British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association (BAFSA)
- British Damage Management Association (BDMA)
- Business Sprinkler Alliance (BSA)
- Chartered Institute of Loss Adjusters (CILA)
- Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA)
- Fire Protection Association (FPA)
- Fire Sector Federation (FSF)
- National Fire Sprinkler Network (NFSN)
- Worshipful Company of Firefighters
Average insurance pay outs for commercial fires are now above £25,000 for the first time, a rise of 165% since 2004. The ABI estimates that repairing the damage caused by a fire the size of the Great Fire of London today would cost insurers at least £37 billion.
Mark Shepherd, ABI Manager of General Insurance Policy, said: "Three hundred and fifty years since London was devastated by fire, it’s high time we brought some of our attitudes to fire prevention into the modern day. A blaze on the scale of the Great Fire of London may never be seen again, but there is a lot more that should be done to prevent and minimise the fires that do happen.
"Fires in schools and care homes endanger those who most need our protection. Industrial fires can cause disruption to our homes, high streets and transport networks and also put lives at risk. We know sprinklers are particularly effective at reducing the risks posed by fire so the time has come to start requiring them in certain buildings. We urge the Government to take the sensible step of making sprinklers a compulsory part of new schools, care homes and larger warehouses, to help the on-going fight against fire."