Monthly Archives: February 2018

Sprinkler Systems for Schools

All new schools will have sprinkler systems fitted as standard – if Labour wins the next general election. Just one in three new or refurbished schools, which have been funded by central government, have had sprinklers fitted since 2010. The statistics prompted Labour officials to tell The Independent newspaper that it will make sprinkler systems for schools a priority.

Labour has pledged to close a loophole in regulations that mean most schools in England do not fit sprinklers. Since 2010, only 28 per cent of 260 schools built under the Department for Education’s Priority School Building Programme have been chosen to benefit from sprinkler systems. It is not known how many free schools have sprinklers.


‘Playing with children’s lives’

In Scotland and Wales sprinkler systems are mandatory in schools. Fire chiefs last year warned that the government is “playing with children’s lives”.

Labour has called for all new and refurbished schools to have sprinklers. Unions are also calling for sprinklers. They have pointed to plans to rebuild a school in West Sussex without sprinklers – even though it was gutted by fire two years ago.


£14 billion pledge

Shadow Education Secretary, Angela Rayner said in an interview with The Independent that a Labour government would provide £14bn to bring schools up to a “good standard”.

She said: “Within that, we will put money aside to make sure schools are safe, and to remove asbestos and flammable cladding and fit lifesaving sprinklers. We also want to close the loopholes that let developers get away with anything less in new schools.

“Parents want a lot of things for their kids, but above all they want them to be safe. Nothing is more important than that.”


Government response

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “Schools have a range of fire protection measures and new schools undergo an additional check while being designed. Where sprinklers are deemed necessary to keep children safe, they must be installed.

“Since the Grenfell tragedy we have contacted all bodies responsible for safety in schools and instructed them to carry out checks to identify buildings that may require further investigation.”


Water tanks – sprinkler systems for schools

For a range of sprinkler tank options, to ensure a constant supply of water in the event of a fire, visit Nationwide Water Solutions Limited.

How Long Does A Sprinkler Tank Last?

If you have invested in a sprinkler system with a fire tank, you should already know that sprinkler tanks require maintenance. If you are one of the many organisations installing sprinkler systems as a result of the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy, you may be asking: how long does a sprinkler tank last?

At Nationwide Solutions we design, install and maintain sprinkler tanks. Stainless steel sprinkler tanks are generally designed to last for 15 years. Some last for much longer and some, poorly maintained tanks may need replacing after just a few years. Our sprinkler tanks are built to last. However, we have seen reports of other tanks leaking within two years of installation. We also install  glass coated steel tanks, galvanised steel, epoxy coated steel and concrete tanks.


Why do some sprinkler tanks leak?


Poor maintenance is the biggest cause of leaks in stainless steel sprinkler tanks. Age and wear and tear are other reasons. We regularly see leaks in stainless steel tanks that have been caused by corrosion, particularly in rivets and screws. You can avoid the inconvenience of costly repair work and the loss of water by ensuring your sprinkler tank is inspected annually.

There is no need to drain a fire tank for an inspection. Talk to Nationwide Water Solutions Limited about digital underwater inspections.


Not all sprinkler tanks are the same


Before having a stainless steel sprinkler tank installed, consider the grade of stainless steel you require. Grades are denoted by numbers. Talk to your supplier about the grade you require and how it should be maintained. Because sprinkler tanks play a crucial role in fire safety, you should ensure that you have weekly, monthly and annual maintenance checks in place.

Nationwide Water Solutions Limited is the UK’s leading independent supplier of sprinkler tanks. It provides a comprehensive service to ensure fire tanks are in premium condition and primed to deliver life-saving water in any emergency.

For further information, click here.



Faulty Appliances Cause 60 Fires A Week

The Government has been urged to tackle the issue of faulty appliances. Consumer champion Which? says 60 fires a week are caused by every-day electrical goods such as washing machines and tumble dryers. It wants the newly-created Office for Product Safety to take action to made products safer.

According to Which? the number of fires involving domestic appliances has remained the same for five years. The fire at Grenfell Tower started in a faulty fridge freezer. However, manufacturers have questioned the data used by Which? in its call for urgent action.


Defects result in fires


A defect in some makes of tumble dryer has allegedly caused hundreds of fires since 2004. The response of the manufacturers has been described by The Commons Business Committee as “woeful”. MPs say it is unacceptable that one million faulty tumble dryers are still in use.

Before making its call for action, Which? used the Freedom of Information Act to gather fire statistics from the Home Office and individual fire authorities. It says, faulty appliances have led to 16,000 fires in the UK over the past six years. It gives a breakdown of its findings:

  • Washing machines and tumble dryers were responsible for 35 per cent
  • Cookers were responsible for 11 per cent
  • Dishwashers were responsible for 10 per cent
  • Fridges, freezers and fridge freezer were responsible for 8 per cent


90 days to take action


Which? wants the Government to come up with an action plan to tackle the problem of faulty appliances within 90 days. Simon Blackburn, of the Local Government Association, said: “This is just the first step. It is essential that consumers have access to as much information as possible.”

Rachel Reeves, who chairs The Commons Business Committee, told the BBC: “While we welcomed the decision to establish an Office for Product Safety and Standards, we agree the government must make sure it has real teeth and ensure it leads to more people registering their products, a better recall regime and ultimately a reduction in the number of fires that blight so many homes and put lives at risk.”


Tough product safety system


In response to Which?,  the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy pointed out: “The government’s top priority is to keep people safe, which is why last month we set out our approach to further strengthen the UK’s already tough product safety system.”


For information about sprinkler tanks, which ensure fires are tackled from the moment they start, talk to Nationwide Water Solutions Limited.


Sky’s The Limit For Fire Safety

Did you know that rooftops are an excellent place to locate sprinkler tanks serving high-rise buildings? In fact, across the Pond, in New York, many of the city’s apartment blocks have them. Out of sight but always on standby, they are the unseen fire safety essential that serves sprinkler systems.

Water tanks have been constructed on rooftops for almost 100 years. They were first installed in commercial buildings in the US following devastating fires. Scores of people perished in garment factories alone. This prompted authorities to introduce regulations. New fire safety rules covered high-rise buildings used for residential as well as business purposes.


Fascinating history of rooftop fire tanks


While initial regulations required the ready supply of water, it quickly became apparent that rooftop tanks were needed. This was because water pressure is often very poor after the fifth storey. While sprinkler systems are not always a feature of high-rise buildings in the UK, they have been an essential part of fire prevention in New York for more than half a century.

Harris Rosenwach first came up with the idea of building a water tank on a roof. Today, his great-great grandson, Henry, is vice-president of Rosenwach Tank Co, headquartered in Long Island.

In the UK most fire tanks are made of sheet metal and constructed on-site, although they will have been prefabricated elsewhere. Built to individual specifications, fire tanks are rarely the same.


How do rooftop sprinkler tanks work?


Think gravity. It is as simple as that. Add electricity and you’ve got the two basic forces that deliver life-saving water to sprinkler heads. Sensors in the tank ensure water levels remain constant. Extra water is delivered when sensors detect a drop. Sometimes a floating balloon is used instead – like the ones you find in toilet cisterns.

With proper maintenance, a steel fire tank can last decades. In the UK, there is no need to empty a tank and clean it before an inspection. Underwater camera equipment is used to survey the tank’s walls and potential weak spots. Companies that fail to have their tanks inspected annually in the US can be fined up to $2,000.


UK sprinkler tanks and fire safety


If you want to find out more about how a sprinkler tank can support your fire safety plan, talk to Nationwide Water Solutions. To book a fire tank inspection, click here.


Safeguarding the Integrity of Sprinkler Tanks

Because sprinkler tanks play a vital role in life preservation and loss prevention, they must be maintained. However, a leak or corrosion does not necessarily mean a tank needs replacing. In fact, Nationwide Water Solutions offers a range of repair and refurbishment options. They protect the integrity of a sprinkler system and remove the cost and hassle associated with sprinkler tank replacement.

Sprinkler tanks can only be refurbished and repaired if they are deemed suitable following an inspection. Such inspections should be carried out at least annually by a trained professional. Full written reports with photographic evidence, illustrating the condition of a tank, should be supplied following an inspection.


Sprinkler tanks: case study


Nationwide Water Solutions was asked to inspect a sprinkler tank at Manchester plastics recycling company Axion Polymers Ltd. The aim was to assess the tank’s condition and to gauge if refurbishment was an option. Upon inspection, it was found that the existing tank had split in various locations around the water line. A number of perforations were also found around the base of the tank. As a result of the inspection findings, Nationwide Water Solutions recommended an internal refurbishment and strengthening of the tank around the water line.

A company spokesman explained: “We installed a new low level access hatch to provide safe access. We then erected mobile scaffolding so our engineers could drill and rivet fourteen galvanised steel strips around the sprinkler tanks top panels. This procedure strengthened the tank around the waterline. It also improved aesthetic appeal of the tank.

“We applied fibreglass matting and resin to the damaged areas inside the sprinkler tank. All the other perforations were then repaired. One the integrity of the tank was sound, we applied a three-coat epoxy system to the tank’s walls and made some minor repairs to roofing sheets.”


Extending the life of sprinkler tanks


By monitoring wear and tear on a sprinkler tank, remedial action can be taken to significantly extend its life. To find out more about repair and refurbishment of sprinkler tanks, visit Nationwide Water Solutions.

Call For Sprinklers In Council Homes

Pressure is being put on UK housing providers to follow legislation in some US states and install sprinkler systems in houses. The latest call comes from a mother whose disabled daughter died in a fire in Cambridge. She is calling on all councils to install sprinklers in their homes.

Theresa Freeman died after a fire at her council bungalow in Cherry Hinton last December. Now her mum, Janice Tyrrell, wants fire safety laws to change. Speaking to ITV, she said: “I feel strongly – everyone, elderly, bedridden… if they can’t get out they should have a sprinkler. It should be law. It really should.”

Sprinklers may have saved trapped woman

Theresa died after fire engulfed her bedroom. Theresa’s disabilities meant she was trapped. Neighbours were unable to reach her.

She was taken to hospital after 999 workers gained access to the burning property. Unfortunately, Theresa suffered 65 per cent burns and later died. Her mum said the bungalow was fitted with smoke alarms. However, she believes there should have been sprinklers.

A spokesperson for Cambridge City Council told ITV it is looking into what they should do as a result of the tragedy.

They said: We are deeply sorry about what happened and have passed our condolences on and say we’re very sorry again for what has happened and we hope that us learning from that and trying to protect other tenants will bring some comfort.”

‘Change the law’ call

Janice wants the law changed to offer greater fire safety protection to those who are vulnerable or housebound.

She said: It should be law. Everybody, elderly, bedridden, if they can’t get out they should have sprinklers.”

Sprinkler tanks UK

Are you a housing provider considering the benefits of installing a sprinkler system? Find out about sprinkler tanks from the UK’s leading independent supplier, Nationwide Water Solutions. It offers installation, maintenance and repair services.


Schools Deemed Too Low Risk For Sprinklers

Union leaders have accused the Government of being “shockingly cavalier” towards fire safety in schools. They claim it is ignoring its own advice over the fitting of sprinklers. They spoke out after it was revealed that an academy almost completely destroyed by fire in 2016 is to be rebuilt without sprinklers.

The move has been described as “incomprehensible”. Now the National Education Union has sent an open letter of complaint to the Education Secretary, Damian Hinds, and the Fire Brigades Union. In it, the union asks why schools, including one next to Grenfell Tower, have been classed as being at too “low risk” to benefit from sprinklers.

Fire safety ‘on the cheap’

Seventy-one people died in the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy last summer. The union is accusing the Government of “paying lip service” to its own fire safety guidance, and “allowing it to be routinely flouted in the rush to build new schools as cheaply as possible”.

Eleven years ago, a bulletin for fire safety in schools said all schools should have sprinklers apart from “a few low risk schools”. However, it is claimed that just 35 per cent of new schools have been fitted with sprinklers since 2010. The union claims the decision not to fit sprinklers at the academy is not “an isolated case”.

The open letter points out Kensington Aldridge Academy, based below Grenfell Tower, has no sprinkler system and condemns a decision to build 32 new schools in Northamptonshire without sprinklers.

It says: “We would question how a large multi-storey secondary school in central London could possibly have been assessed as one of ‘a few low risk schools’.

Postcode lottery for sprinklers

In Scotland and Wales, it is a legal requirement for all new schools to be built with sprinkler systems installed.

The union says, sprinkler systems save lives, reduce rebuild costs and time, mean less disruption for children and staff, and reduce risks to firefighters.

For information about sprinkler tanks, including installation and maintenance, visit Nationwide Water Solutions.


Grenfell Tower Fire – Update

The fallout from the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy continues. It has been revealed that a second funeral has been held for one of the victims – after bone fragment was found. DNA testing has revealed it belonged to a 57-year-old victim. He died after jumping from the burning building. The bone fragment was found after police sent his clothes to be cleaned.

Discovered in a tumble dryer just a few weeks ago, the revelation came as a shock to the man’s family. His widow told Channel 4 News she found the second burial more distressing than the first.

Police apologise to Grenfell widow

The Metropolitan Police has apologised to the family for the “distress that this has caused”. A spokesman said Grenfell was “one of the most complex investigations” ever undertaken by the force.

Scotland Yard has said: “Mr Neda’s clothing was sent to an external company for professional cleaning of each item prior to their return to his family.

“Each person’s items are cleaned within an isolated environment so no cross-contamination can occur. It was during this process that a small fragment of bone was discovered.”

Safety reviews continue

Local authorities, social housing providers and businesses are continuing to review fire safety measures following failings at Grenfell Tower. While external plastic cladding is being removed from many high-rise buildings, additional fire suppressant measures are being considered.

Sprinkler systems are likely to be installed in many high-rise apartment blocks.

Sprinkler tank update

Nationwide Water Solutions Limited remains available to discuss sprinkler tank installation and maintenance. Its team of engineers is working with a wide range of organisations who are keen to implement fire safety improvements following the devastating impact of the fire at Grenfell Tower.

If you are considering the benefits of installing a sprinkler tank or want to ensure your existing tank is compliant and fit for purpose, contact Nationwide Water Solutions.