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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Sprinklers Needed in Nursing Homes

27/05/2011

Sprinklers could have been prevented the emergency re-housing of elderly residents, following a fire at a local nursing home, according to Staffordshire’s Deputy Chief Fire Officer.

"A sprinkler system fitted in this building would have confined the fire and immediately controlled it, meaning residents wouldn’t have needed to be evacuated."

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Chris Enness

The incident at Beatrice Court Nursing Home on St Johns Street in Lichfield last Friday involved a fire that was accidentally started in a laundry room. 51 elderly residents along with eight members of staff were evacuated from the nursing home. The equipment in the laundry room was severely damaged and a number of residents had to be temporarily re-housed as a result of the incident.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Chris Enness, who is also the Chief Fire Officer Association’s lead officer on sprinklers said: "This incident highlights the need for sprinklers in buildings, such as nursing homes, where there are large numbers of vulnerable people. A sprinkler system fitted in this building would have confined the fire and immediately controlled it, meaning residents wouldn’t have needed to be evacuated from the building or re-housed. The amount of damage would also have been minimised and the nursing home could have carried on with business as usual.

"In 2004 14 people died in a fire at a nursing home in Scotland, the inquiry stated that some of the deaths could have been avoided if sprinklers were fitted. Since then Scotland and Wales have introduced legislation which require all new care homes, sheltered housing and high rise residential accommodation to be fitted with sprinklers. We’d like to see similar legislation introduced here in England and we’re looking to lead the way with this in Staffordshire."

More information about sprinklers can be found in the sprinkler section of Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s website.