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02 April 2015
A match funding scheme has seen an automatic fire suppression system being fitted to local authority flats.
The Bockingham Green area of Felmores Estate in Basildon, Essex has been fitted with a water misting system in a joint enterprise between Essex County Fire and Rescue Service and Basildon Council’s housing team.
The first block to be fitted with the system suffered a fire in 2013. It broke out in a ground floor bedsit, caused widespread destruction and left families homeless.
Essex County FRS Divisional Officer Mark Earwicker, Technical Fire Safety, said: “Automatic fire suppression systems offer the best fire protection available. They prevent fires from spreading by containing them to the room where they break out and often will completely extinguish a fire almost straight away.
“The fire which hit these flats two years ago would not have spread to cause the damage it did if the water misting systems were in place then. It is great knowing that through our collaboration with Basildon Council these flats have such effective fire safety systems installed.”
The promotion of water misting is part of Essex’s Think Sprinkler Strategy. The county has £250,000 of match-funding available to local authorities, housing associations and charities. Those at highest risk are given priority access.
If a desktop assessment indicates sprinklers are an appropriate solution, a Fire Engineer will visit to assess suitability. The maximum award is 50% of the cost. Grants are paid within 30 days of a final inspection by ECFRS to ensure that the system is installed to the correct standard.
Mandy Skeat, Basildon Council’s Head of Housing, said: “This is a very important project and it has been an extremely effective working partnership between us and Essex County Fire and Rescue Service.
“Most importantly, thanks to this project, our tenants are now as safe as they possibly can be from the risk of fire.”
Automatic fire suppression systems are scheduled to be fitted across the rest of the estate.
Click here for more information about the Essex match funding scheme.
Essex County Fire & Rescue Service
Commercial buildings, non-domestic and multi-occupancy premises in England and Wales are already forced to undertake a 'suitable and sufficient' fire risk assessment carried out under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
While the overwhelming majority of premises do this, if the assessment is thought to have been carried out to an insufficient extent, the Responsible Person can face an unlimited fine or up to two years in prison.