Freight News, Logistics

Warehousemen warn against compulsory sprinklers

[ February 19, 2014   //   ]

The UK Warehousing Association (UKWA) has warned against plans to make sprinkler systems mandatory in all facilities over 20,000 sq m. It follows a campaign launched by the Business Sprinkler Alliance for the current law to be reviewed. UKWA chief executive officer, Roger Williams (pictured), says that while the use of sprinkler systems is increasing – especially given the Fire Service’s policy to allow warehouse fires to extinguish naturally if the blaze does not present a threat to human life* – there are a number of practical problems that prevent the use of sprinklers in some types of warehouse and in some localities.

He added: “So while UKWA welcomes any steps that seek to add protection to property and people, we will be doing our best to engage with the Business Sprinkler Alliance and other interested parties to ensure that any proposed changes to existing regulations are sensible, practical and applied with a light hand.”


*In a statement, the Chief Fire Officers’ Association operations director, Roy Wilsher, CFOA said: “There is no such policy.  The Fire and Rescue Services base a response to any incident on risk assessment, both before they are called and whilst at an incident through dynamic risk assessment.  This may mean that the Service will make a positive decision to adopt defensive firefighting tactics and not enter a burning building.  But this is in no way the default position.  The Fire and Rescue Service is fully aware of its duty of care to the public and our own staff, but we are just as aware of the economic impact that fire can have on the economy and people’s livelihoods.

“The decision to fight a fire from outside a building will be a positive decision based on the risk assessment at the incident, it will not be a case of allowing the fire to burn out.  The Fire Service will take some risks to prevent a fire spreading inside a building even with no one involved.  The calculated risks taken will often be higher if there is a person involved or believed to be involved.  The Fire Service is used to risk assessment and calculating risk during operations and the occasions when a fire is allowed to burn itself out are extremely rare and almost always confined to vegetation.”

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