Government decision to abandon school sprinkler requirement will endanger children

Installing sprinklers into new schools was a policy introduced in 2007 by Labour Schools Minister Jim Knight [Image: Getty].

Installing sprinklers into new schools was a policy introduced in 2007 by Labour Schools Minister Jim Knight [Image: Getty].


This Blog is indebted to former Labour MP Lynne Jones, who flagged up the following insight into the reasons fire sprinklers should be fitted in schools:

“There have been 5,132 fires in educational buildings in 10 years to 2013/14, resulting in 148 casualties.”

But the Tories don’t want to install safety equipment. Presumably they think it is too expensive.

What about the cost of the damage to school buildings and equipment?

What about the human cost?

Do the relatives of the 148 recent casualties think sprinklers are unnecessary – or were they not even asked?

Government ministers have been heavily criticised after quietly abandoning the requirement for fire sprinklers to be fitted in new schools, in what has been called a “retrograde step” by fire chiefs.

An update to the Department of Education’s (DfE) Design in Fire Safety in Schools stated that “Building Regulations do not require the installation of fire sprinkler suppression systems in school buildings for life safety”.

“Therefore,” it added, “[guidelines] no longer include an expectation that most new school buildings will be fitted with them.”

The move has been lambasted by fire officers and follows two recent major school fires.

Source: Government criticised over quietly abandoning requirement for new schools to install fire sprinklers | The Independent

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5 thoughts on “Government decision to abandon school sprinkler requirement will endanger children

  1. Dez

    Just shows how authorities are not fit for purpose when it comes to making commercial type/ life safety decisions. Sprinklers are getting cheaper to install especially in new builds and therefore should be part of the initial decisions. From some of the recent pictures of school burnouts the flame spread is rampant and quick and therefore basic sprinklers could stop the spread and save the school and rebuild costs and of course loss of education facilities. Basic risk management that is probably beyond most local government thinking who just cannot get out of short term savings mode. If the bears with little brains cannot see the big picture maybe they would install in high risk areas…eg kitchens, labs, computer and unmanned utility areas. They will be stripping out fire alarms next..

  2. Di Finch

    The requirements of Heakth and Safety..each school should have a union member in this role..only cover adults. I would have made a case as such a rep that my members lives were endangered by this. Sadly kids are not covered by H and S act in schools!

    1. Dez

      Does not cover kids in schools?? Sounds like the usual case of Authorities need the handful of body bags before they engage brain and wallet. Schools contain children….lots of ’em…..simples. Where are the officers, councillors, fire services and school govenors do none of them have any common sense?

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