Lewisham Homes has partnered with the London Fire Brigade, the Building Research Establishment (BRE) and the British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association (BAFSA) to carry out world first experiments in fire safety. The tests examined how effective residential sprinkler systems are on mobility scooter fires.
Steve Kilden, Fire Safety Advisor for Lewisham Homes said: ‘A growing number of residents need to use mobility scooters. Because of this we’ve had to look at where they can store and charge their scooters safely and how we can reduce the fire risk.
'We asked the BRE to help us identify whether sprinklers, combined with other safety measures, mean residents can safely store their mobility scooters within shared spaces’
The experiments were attended by the London Fire Brigade. Dan Daly, Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety, said: ‘The action already taken by Lewisham Homes to protect older residents by installing sprinklers in their housing schemes should be applauded.
'Their latest plans around the storage of mobility scooters recognise there is a need to help residents lead independent lives without compromising their safety.’
The experiments saw the BRE build a life-size replica of a shared room, including a copy of the sprinkler arrangement, within a Lewisham Homes sheltered housing scheme.
A standard mobility scooter and another with a highly flammable lithium-ion battery were set on fire. The sprinklers started quickly and successfully contained the fires during both experiments.
Working with the London Fire Brigade, Lewisham Homes are using the results of the experiments to shape their fire safe safety plans for their new build homes, sheltered accommodation, flats and converted properties.
Catherine Goakes, Interim Head of Health and Safety at Lewisham Homes said: ‘We wanted to find out whether or not sprinklers could successfully supress mobility scooter fires. Our tests have shown that they can.
'We are proud to be leading on solutions to this current and growing fire safety risk. We look forward to sharing our findings across the housing and fire safety industries.’
The experiments and their results are part of ongoing efforts by Lewisham Homes to improve fire safety for their residents. The housing provider has invested more than £13 million over the past 7 years to improve fire safety standards.