Fire services stresses importance of sprinklers in light of blazes at schools in Eastbourne, Rother and Newhaven

East Sussex fire service has reminded people the importance of sprinklers this week, chiming back to recent school fires in Eastbourne, Rother, and Newhaven.

Tuesday, 18th May 2021, 3:58 pm

As it’s National Sprinkler Week (May 17-23), East Sussex Fire & Rescue is calling on more building owners and construction companies to make sprinklers a priority.

This comes after it was revealed there are around 1,500 fires in schools every year in the UK.

Recent local incidents include two Eastbourne fires – Stafford Junior School in November 2020 and Shinewater School in October 2015 – and a fire at Buckwoods School in Guestling in September 2019.

Stafford Junior School fire last year

A disused school in Newhaven was also the scene of a fire in December 2017.

At present, England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland differ in their requirements on sprinklers in schools.

The service says it supports the installation of sprinklers in all new and converted school buildings regardless of their height and retrofitting to existing buildings when refurbishment occurs.

Fire sprinklers are widely recognised as the single most effective method for fighting the spread of fires in their early stages.

The National Fire Chiefs Council and the National Fire Sprinkler Network carried out research to investigate the effectiveness and reliability of sprinkler systems.

They found that sprinkler systems:

Operate on 94 per cent of occasions, demonstrating very high reliability.

When they do operate, they extinguish or contain the fire on 99 per cent of occasions.

In both converted and purpose-built flats, sprinklers are 100 per cent effective in controlling fires.

Jo Fowler, who leads partnership work on sprinklers with the service, said, “We have already worked with a number of local partners to help them achieve the benefits that sprinklers can bring for their premises and the people in them.

“We encourage anyone who would like more information about sprinklers and how we can help to get in touch.”

More information is available at