Posted: Thursday 9 June 2022, 14:07
Sprinklers have been fitted into the £6.9 million rebuilt Ravensdale Infant School in Mickleover, Derby following a fire that destroyed the original school in October 2020.
Just over 20 months after Ravensdale Infant School was destroyed by fire, today the school can reopen its doors to the staff and pupils affected by the fire, safe in the knowledge that the newly rebuilt school is now protected from fire by sprinklers.
In 2020 following three devastating school fires across Derbyshire, two coming only 48 hours apart, Derbyshire’s Chief Fire Officer/Chief Executive Gavin Tomlinson called on Government to change fire safety legislation to protect schools from fire. In a statement he said: “I am not sure what more evidence is needed to bring legislation in line with Scotland and Wales where it is mandatory for sprinklers to be fitted and for the Government here in England to take notice and more importantly, to take action – we have a responsibility to build safer schools.”
Following this call, Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service worked closely with both Derby City and Derbyshire County Council that saw both councils signing a Statement of Intent committing to fit sprinklers and the right fire safety measures in all new build schools, and primary and secondary schools undergoing significant renovation, refurbishment or extension in November 2020.
Speaking following the news that Ravensdale School has reopened and that it is now protected by sprinklers, CFO Tomlinson said: “I am pleased that following the commitment set out in the Statement of Intent signed by the City and County Council in November 2020, that Derby City Council have honoured their commitment and ensured the fire safety of Ravensdale School. Their action to ensure sprinklers were part of the design has protected the education of thousands of pupils who will attend the school for years to come and protected the communities at the heart of any school from the devastating impact of fire.
“Of course, there are also huge financial benefits from ensuring sprinklers are fitted in schools preventing costly design and rebuild projects.
“I’d like to wish all the staff and pupils at Ravensdale School well as they move into their new school, closing the book on a chapter of the school’s history that many will remember for years to come.”
Fire Safety Legislation
The average fire risk for schools is almost double that of other non-residential buildings* yet legislation does not require sprinklers to be fitted as part of fire safety measures in educational buildings in England. This is inconsistent with legislation in Scotland and Wales where there is a legal requirement to fit sprinklers in all new build schools.
DFRS is supporting the ongoing work through the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) and the National Sprinkler Network (NFSN) to lobby the Government for a change in legislation to Building Bulletin 100: Design for Fire Safety in Schools.
Responses to a Government consultation on BB100 were submitted and feedback was given through the NFCC on revised guidance. We are still awaiting the outcome of that consultation.
*Source Zurich Insurance