A housing provider has thanked Cheshire Fire Authority for part-funding the fitting of potentially life-saving sprinklers throughout one of its biggest properties.
Flats and communal areas at Churchill Mansions, a 12-story high-rise building in Runcorn, are now fitted with sprinklers for protection from the danger of fire.
The majority of the work to install sprinklers throughout the tower block in Cooper Street was completed by August and Halton Housing has now received a £36,000 grant from Cheshire Fire Authority to help pay for the retro-fitting project.
Halton Housing’s Director of Homes Scott Murray said: “The fact that the flats at Churchill Mansions are now fitted with a sprinkler means that the whole community in the tower block is further protected.
“We are delighted that every tenant – around 65 people – can sleep safe in the knowledge that in the event of a fire they will be alerted by an alarm and protected by a sprinkler.
“We would like to thank Cheshire Fire Authority for part-funding the sprinkler system project with a £36,000 grant.”
Sprinklers are instant firefighters, likened to having a firefighter in every room 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
They are safe, cost-effective and are proven to save lives and property.
Sprinklers also improve firefighter safety, minimise environmental damage and reduce economic loss.
“Fire is indiscriminate and destroys lives, homes, families, businesses and history that cannot be replaced,” said Area Manager Lee Shears, Head of Protection and Organisational Performance at Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service.
“Every year hundreds of people die in fires, and many more suffer injuries.
“Every year a lot of people are made homeless or lose their business or livelihood as a result of fire.
“At Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service we have a vision of a Cheshire where there are no deaths or injuries from fires or other emergencies.
“Fire deaths, including firefighter deaths, can almost be eliminated and lives and properties can be saved through the installation of sprinklers.
“As such, we are thrilled that flats and communal areas at Churchill Mansions in Runcorn are now fitted with sprinklers.”
Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service has been campaigning for the installation of sprinkler systems in high-rise buildings for several years.
The service’s efforts in this regard were heightened by the Grenfell Tower fire in London in 2017 that caused 72 deaths.
As part of its campaign, Cheshire Fire Authority set aside £160,000 to be offered to housing providers to part-fund the retrofitting of sprinkler systems in such residential premises.
Other high-rise buildings to have received grants include the three Joseph Groome Towers in Ellesmere Port, and a number of other installations are underway in Handforth, Chester and Crewe.
Cllr Bob Rudd, Chair of Cheshire Fire Authority, added: “Sprinklers are the equivalent to having a firefighter ready and waiting in every room of your home or business.
“Sprinklers suppress fire before it has a chance to take hold and spread, which in turn limits the damage it causes to buildings and property.
“This makes the device an ideal choice for property management companies and local authority housing providers to help protect their assets from fire, but also to keep tenants and their families safe.”
Water damage from sprinklers operating when there is a fire is considerably less than from hoses used by firefighters to extinguish fires.
In most cases, sprinklers operate at the very early stage of a fire and will have suppressed or extinguished the blaze before the firefighters arrive.
Cheshire Fire Authority grant funding is still available for the retro-fitting of sprinkler systems in high-rise buildings.
Further details of this funding can be obtained by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information, go to www.cheshirefire.gov.uk