Sprinklers Position Statement

Sprinklers are the most effective way to ensure that fires are suppressed or even extinguished before the fire service can arrive.

 They save lives and reduce injuries, protect firefighters who attend incidents and reduce the amount of damage to both property and the environment from fire.

 In the last 12 months, the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) and the National  Fire Sprinkler Network (NFSN) have worked together to investigate the effectiveness and reliability of sprinkler systems.

 The evidence produced indicates that sprinkler systems operate on 94% of occasions demonstrating very high reliability. Furthermore, it is evident that when they do operate they extinguish or contain the fire on 99% of occasions and are thus very effective.

 The research also found that in both converted and purpose built flats that sprinklers are 100% effective in controlling fires.  

The NFCC recognise that sprinklers are an effective part of an overall fire safety solution and can be used efficiently to improve fire safety in a range of new and existing buildings.

 The NFCC support the concept of risk assessed retro fitting of sprinklers in existing buildings and would also welcome the prioritisation of a  review of the Building Regulations (Approved Document B) to  ensure fire safety requirements keep pace with new building developments.

 The NFCC supported by the NFSN are focused on developing understanding and acceptance to promote the wider use of sprinklers. Together we will continue the efforts in the coming months to:

  • Educate the public and building owners to dispel the myths and understand the benefits of sprinklers.
  • Provide clear guidance on their consideration and implementation as part of a fire safety strategy.
  • Provide clear guidance within the service on their ongoing maintenance and operational considerations.

Please see the cost benefit analysis of residential sprinkler systems report. 

Efficiency and Effectiveness of Sprinkler Systems in the United Kingdom: An Analysis from Fire Service Data