Wednesday 17 December 2014

A fire sprinkler trial in the Gleadless Valley area of Sheffield is being hailed as a success.

The scheme in Callow Mount is a flagship contract and partnership between Sheffield City Council’s housing services, the British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association (BAFSA) and South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service.

The sprinkler system is part of a broader fire safety investment programme delivered by Sheffield City Council contractor Kier Services in more than 18,000 low-rise flats and maisonettes across the city over the next four years.

Patricia Barker, 74, was one of the residents of Callow Mount to be fitted with the new sprinkler system almost two years ago.

Mrs Barker is a huge advocate of the sprinkler system, so much so that she now regularly attends consultation events in other areas to help reassure tenants about their forthcoming fire safety works.

She said: “I think most tenants are worried about the mess to their homes and what the system will look like. I offer them reassurance about the work from my personal experience.
“The sprinkler really is very small and well-hidden and the pipe work is professionally boxed in with minimum disruption.

“The fire safety work has also made me more aware about our basic fire regulations and my own actions to stop the spread of a potential fire. I now shut the fire doors behind me at night and make regular checks”.

Legislation requires that Sheffield City Council must provide fire precaution measures and remove or reduce the risk of fire as far as is reasonably practicable in multi-occupancy properties such tower blocks, sheltered schemes, maisonettes and low-rise flats.

The project, which commenced in September 2013, has now seen work completed in more than 3,500 properties. The fire suppression programme will provide sprinklers to around 540 addresses. The fire safety work in its entirety will benefit 17763 addresses in total, excluding tower blocks and sheltered accommodation which have already been completed.
Initial feedback from residents is very positive.

Councillor Harry Harpham, Sheffield City Council’s Cabinet Member for Homes and Neighbourhoods, said: “We need to make sure that our tenants and leaseholders are ‘fire safe’ and fully aware of the dangers a fire can bring, especially in flats and maisonettes.

“The fire suppression and sprinkler projects are a small part of a large five year investment programme for council housing in the city; to ensure tenants are safe in their homes.”
As part of this partnership, in the new year Sheffield City Council will also work with local secondary schools to raise awareness of fire safety in the home.

Before work starts on any aspect of the investment programme, tenants will receive a letter explaining the work that will be undertaken. They will also be provided with a named contact for the duration of the work.

There are lots of opportunities for tenants to get involved and have their say. To find out more please visit www.sheffield.gov.uk/councilhousing or call 0114 2930000.