Employment and business

London Fire Brigade calls for more businesses to install sprinkler systems

Damage to Sainsburys food distribution depot in Charlton wold have been much greater without sprinkler system. Image:@LondonFire

Damage to Sainsburys food distribution depot in Charlton wold have been much greater without sprinkler system. Image:@LondonFire

The London Fire Brigade says the Charlton Sainsburys depot fire that could be seen throughout London has been a reminder for more businesses to install sprinklers.

Fire Chiefs say the Sainsburys sprinkler system prevented ‘potentially devastating damage’ to its distribution depot after a blaze broke out on the site last Monday.

The cost to the UK economy of warehouse fires without sprinkler protection is estimated to be £232 million each year.

LFB says:

We’re now calling on other businesses to follow the supermarket giant’s example and have sprinklers installed in their own premises.

Ten fire engines and over 70 firefighters tackled the blaze which started in a lorry parked in one of the loading bays outside the warehouse before spreading to six other lorries and part of the depot’s wall.

The cause is under investigation.

Thick black smoke from the fire could be seen for miles around.

LFB says:

We believe the activation of sprinklers inside the building, and the quick actions of its firefighters, prevented the blaze from spreading  further into the warehouse.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Mark Andrews said:

There is absolutely no doubt that in this case the sprinkler system, along with the quick actions of our crews,  prevented a much more serious fire from spreading any further into the depot and causing potentially millions of pounds worth of damage to both  the building and stock inside.

This incident highlights the clear benefits of sprinklers to businesses and we would urge all companies to install them. As well as being potentially life saving devices, sprinklers and other fire suppression systems help with business continuity by minimising disruption and allowing businesses to get back to normal as soon as possible.

An independent study by  independent third party approval body, BRE Global has found that each year one in five warehouses in England will have a fire requiring the attendance of firefighters.

The survey was commissioned by the Business Sprinkler Alliance.

The annual cost to the UK economy of fires in English warehouses without fire sprinklers is estimated at £232 million.

The London Fire Brigade says it’s campaigning for business owners, care providers and housing developers to fit sprinklers in commercial premises, residential care homes, housing and schools.

LFB recommends businesses consider taking part in the Primary Auhority Scheme.

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