Service hails ‘life saving’ sprinklers as part of awareness week

South Yorkshire’s fire service is seeking to remind people this week that sprinklers save lives, as part of a national ‘Think Sprinkler’ awareness campaign.

The message comes after a retrofitted system stopped a chip pan fire, which could otherwise have seriously hurt two sleeping occupants and destroyed their Doncaster flat, in its tracks earlier this year.

It also comes only months after the service revealed that a £1million sprinkler fund, put aside by the South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Authority, has part-funded 20 installations over the last five years.

These installations have seen around 650 flats, which are home to some of the county’s most vulnerable people, be fitted with the life-saving devices.

“I’ve said before that sprinklers are a reliable and cost-effective way of stopping fires from growing and spreading – this incident proved that,” said Roger Brason, South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s sprinkler advocate.

“These devices really do save lives and we were keen to support the Think Sprinkler to remind people how effective they are, offer some insight into how they work and dispel any myths – starting with the fact that the chance of a sprinkler malfunction is 16 million to one!

“We’ve done a lot of work in the last five years to make these installations happen and are proud to have built a reputation as a leading fire and rescue service when it comes to advocating sprinklers, but there’s always more to do.

“We want to see more sprinkler systems in more buildings across South Yorkshire – particularly in residential settings. I’d encourage any building owners that want to know more about the benefits that sprinklers bring to get in touch.”

The incident earlier this year took place on Hatfield House, which is managed by St Leger Homes who – with the support of Doncaster Council and SYFR – have had sprinklers fitted in all nine of their high rise buildings across the borough.

Other part-funded projects include Churchfield Sheltered Housing in Barnsley and the St Wilfrid’s Centre in Sheffield – the latter seeing a system installed in a new, 20-bed residence that houses adults with complex needs.

Sprinkler Week is led by the National Fire Chiefs Council, supported by fire services across the country, and runs from Monday 18 to Sunday 24 May.

You can find out more about the wide range of benefits sprinklers bring, as well as the service’s position on them, at www.syfire.gov.uk.

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Praise for control room staff after flat fire rescue

Staff within South Yorkshire’s fire control room – who take the fire service’s 999 emergency calls – have been praised by the county’s Chief Fire Officer after a recent flat fire in Sheffield.

Firefighters were mobilised to the blaze on Wensley Green, Sheffield, at 10.19am on Friday 1 May – with a man understood to be trapped and a bedroom well alight.

As the crews travelled to the flat, from Elm Lane and Central fire stations, they were given specific information around the location of the man.

This information, which came from control blue watch, meant the first firefighters in attendance could make an immediate rescue, without delay.

Following the incident, which ended with the man safely rescued, crews described the control room staff as angels on their shoulders.

“Our firefighters do an incredible job, often putting themselves at great risk to help others, but it’s so important to remember the life-saving work of our control operators, too,” said Chief Fire Officer, Alex Johnson.

“Not only do they co-ordinate our incident response, ensuring fire engines get to the right place at the right time, they gather a huge amount of vital information for firefighters on the ground. This incident is a really good example of that.

“They also, time and time again, provide fire survival guidance for people in their darkest moments – offering a reassuring voice and advice on how to stay safe until fire crews arrive. I’d like to say a big thank you to every single one of them.”

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