Fire officers are calling on South Yorkshire’s housing providers to install sprinklers to help protect vulnerable residents from fire.
South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue (SYFR) attends dozens of serious house fires every year in social housing and sheltered accommodation.
To help tackle the problem and increase the number of sprinkler systems fitted across the county, the fire service has announced a £1 million fund to encourage more housing providers to install them in buildings lived in by those residents most at risk from fire.
Dozens of delegates attended an event in Sheffield this week which launched the fund and explained to businesses, charities and social housing landlords the benefits of this potentially lifesaving fire safety equipment.
Head of prevention and protection Steve Helps, said: “Sprinklers are a cost effective way of making homes safer – they stop fires from spreading, put them out quickly and save lives. We are especially concerned about those people who are most at risk of fire such as those with mobility or mental health problems or people with dementia who may not know how to react, or be able to react quickly enough, if they hear a smoke alarm.
“We play a key leadership role in helping people to better understand the benefits of sprinklers as part our commitment to reduce the impact of fire on people, property and the environment and this funding is the best possible evidence of our commitment to that goal.”
SYFR is one of the leading fire services in the country for its pioneering use of sprinklers in high risk residential settings, leading a UK first project to retrofit an automated system at the Callow Mount block of flats in Gleadless. That scheme is now internationally recognised for the improved safety it offers the people living within the building.
It has also worked alongside Sheffield City Council to make more than 540 properties in the city safer by installing lifesaving sprinkler systems at council owned flats in Gleadless Valley, Westfield, Stannington and Netherthorpe. This project was another UK first.
The installation of sprinkler systems in new build homes is now mandatory in Wales and SYFR is actively promoting the use of this type of protection in all types of buildings to build resilience and safety into local communities.
South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Authority’s sprinkler fund is open to any social or private housing provider. It will part fund those projects which demonstrate the best value and innovation in protecting the most vulnerable people possible from fire. It forms part of the Stronger Safer Communities Reserve, with money set aside from the Authority’s reserves.
The funding application form can be downloaded here. The deadline for applications is 10 March.