London calls for sprinklers in all buildings

Source: Xinhua| 2019-02-12 08:53:56|Editor: WX
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LONDON, Feb. 11 (Xinhua) -- The London Fire Brigade (LFB) on Monday issued a call that all new apartment blocks should be fitted with sprinkler systems to avoid another tragedy like the Grenfell Tower blaze that killed 72 people in 2017.

The Grenfell Tower fire in central London saw a 24-story residential tower block entirely burnt out in a massive fire which spread quickly throughout the building that had no sprinkler system.

LFB Commissioner Dany Cotton, who led the rescue efforts on the night of the big fire, said in a statement Monday: "Developers should be required to include sprinklers in more buildings, and especially in purpose-built residential blocks and homes of the vulnerable."

As well as covering new buildings, the LFB wants new laws to require sprinklers to be retrofitted in older residential blocks, such as towers similar to Grenfell Tower, and any building housing vulnerable people.

In other constituent nations of Britain, such as Wales, sprinklers are a legal requirement in all new domestic buildings. In Scotland, residential buildings including care homes, sheltered housing, schools and high-rises taller than 18 meters must have sprinklers.

The law in England enforces sprinklers only in new buildings above the height of 30 meters.

Laws currently state that developers must consult the fire brigade and other emergency services as part of their building plans but that they are not forced to carry out safety recommendations.

"Although we are telling developers that sprinklers will save lives, in most cases we can't force developers to fit them and it's very difficult to follow up on whether our lifesaving advice was incorporated into the build," Cotton said.

The LFB said that in 2018 it had "strongly recommended" the use of sprinklers in more than 3,000 buildings including care homes, schools and apartments.