A ‘firefighter’ in every room ...

Ian Hayton, Chief Fire Officer, Cleveland Fire Brigade and Sarah Fawcett, Head of Development at the Vela Group pictured with Ken Lahney outside his Maxwell Road home that has been fitted with the new sprinkler system.'Also pictured are (left to right) Cindy Collins who represented the Fire Support Network, Tom Norman and Andy Smith of Hartlepool Water, Chris Hope and Jessica Welsh of plumbers K Hewitt & Co Ltd and Evelyn Rhodes and Ronnie King of the National Fire Sprinkler Network

Ian Hayton, Chief Fire Officer, Cleveland Fire Brigade and Sarah Fawcett, Head of Development at the Vela Group pictured with Ken Lahney outside his Maxwell Road home that has been fitted with the new sprinkler system.'Also pictured are (left to right) Cindy Collins who represented the Fire Support Network, Tom Norman and Andy Smith of Hartlepool Water, Chris Hope and Jessica Welsh of plumbers K Hewitt & Co Ltd and Evelyn Rhodes and Ronnie King of the National Fire Sprinkler Network

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FIRE chiefs have officially launched a low-cost sprinkler system to reduce the risk of deadly house blazes.

The system has been pioneered by Cleveland Fire Brigade, which is funding and fitting them initially into 32 houses and bungalows on a new housing development owned by the Vela Group in Hartlepool.

In 2009-2010 there were 328 fire deaths in accidental house fires across England. The brigade’s priority is to prevent these fires.

The initiative was launched yesterday by the brigade with the Vela Group, Hartlepool Water and supported by the National Fire Sprinkler Network (NFSN).  As reported in the Hartlepool Mail earlier this week, Cindy Collins is also backing the scheme after escaping a blaze at her home in May 2010.

Mum-of-five Cindy, 52, from Burn Valley Road, Hartlepool, was carried from her blazing home by firefighters and spent nearly three weeks in intensive care.

She said: “If I can help someone to hold on to as much as they can, including their life, by helping to promote sprinklers, I’ll feel like I’ve done a good job.”

The project was developed after Cleveland Fire Brigade agreed to take part in a pilot scheme for an innovative design of low cost suppression system for the home, which can be fitted cheaper than traditional domestic sprinkler systems.

The system runs water directly from the mains that supply water to the property. The sprinklers have recessed heads so the appearance of a room is not affected.

The brigade’s Chief Fire Officer, Ian Hayton, said: “We are proud to be the first fire authority to fit these low cost domestic sprinklers. Fire sprinkler systems are the only devices able to detect a fire in a home or business then control and probably extinguish it. Damage from fire and water is minimal as are the installation costs.

“Sprinklers provide peace of mind of having, in effect, a firefighter permanently at the ready in every room.”

To find out more about the sprinklers including a demonstration video, visit www.clevelandfire.gov.uk/sprinklers.