William Eichler 11 November 2020

Derbyshire councils commit to fitting sprinklers in schools

Derby City Council and Derbyshire County Council have both signed a Statement of Intent committing to fit sprinklers and the right fire safety measures in new and refurbished schools.

Following three devastating school fires in 2020, Derbyshire’s chief fire officer/chief executive (CFO) Gavin Tomlinson called for schools to be fitted with sprinklers.

In response, Derby City Council leader, Cllr Chris Poulter, and Derbyshire County Council leader, Cllr Barry Lewis, have signed the Statement of Intent which commits them to fit sprinklers and the right fire safety measures in new build schools and primary and secondary schools undergoing significant renovation, refurbishment or extension.

‘Sprinklers are an effective fire safety measure that can extinguish a fire, or contain it until the arrival of fire crews. With this in mind, I am delighted that both the city and county council have joined me in signing a Statement of Intent to protect all new build schools and those undergoing refurbishment,’ said CFO Tomlinson, who is also the national lead for sprinklers for the National Fire Chiefs Council.

‘This really is a step in the right direction to safeguard our children’s education, our economy and protect firefighters and front line emergency services from the impact of such devastating fires.’

Cllr Poulter commented: ‘Our schools are at the heart of our communities, and we are proud to be supporting this Statement of Intent.

‘Losing a school has an enormous community impact, as we’ve seen recently with not one but two fires at Derby schools no thanks to some abhorrent individuals who chose to set fires in them.

‘There is currently no legal requirement for existing schools to have sprinkler systems, and we believe this needs to change, and the Government needs to act.

‘Fires that cause such devastation should never happen when there are fire safety measures that can prevent them.’

Cllr Lewis added: ‘Fire devastates lives. School fires, even if there is no loss of life, have huge impacts on education and communities. It is vital that we use every defence measure possible and Derbyshire County Council has no hesitation in playing our part in this commitment to protect our children and our schools.’

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