Installing sprinklers in homes and buildings would save hundreds of lives every year, says Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service.
This week (March 16 to 22) is National Fire Sprinkler Week and the brigade is calling for sprinklers to be installed in all new properties.
Sprinkler systems have been proven to save lives and reduce injuries for firefighters attending incidents. Because they suppress fires rapidly in the early stages, they also reduce the amount of damage to buildings. Fire costs the economy over £7 billion a year.
Fires in the home still account for the greatest number of fire deaths and injuries each year. Last year (2013/14) 275 people died in fires. In the same period, 3,600 people were treated in hospital for injuries resulting from fire.
In the UK there have been no reported deaths from fire in a domestic dwelling installed with a sprinkler system.
The Welsh Assembly government has passed legislation making it mandatory for new domestic build properties to have sprinklers installed. Fire authorities in England are calling for similar legislation to be passed in Westminster.
Baz Fox, Group Manager of Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Sprinklers save lives, save buildings and save money. The case for their installation is compelling. Hundreds of people a year die in fires.
“This is a needless tragedy when the majority, if not all, of those lives could have been saved had sprinklers been fitted in the building where the fire started.
“Not only do sprinklers virtually eliminate the risk of a fire becoming fatal, they make the work of firefighters massively safer and put a quick and early stop to the destructive spread of fires.
“We would encourage any building owner or developer to think seriously about installing sprinklers. The sooner these are fitted as standard, the sooner we can call time on people losing their lives in fires.”
Fire service calls for wider use of sprinklers have also been backed by the public.
According to an opinion poll carried out by Comres for the Local Government Association in March 2012, 63 per cent of the public think fire sprinkler systems should be installed in all new homes.