Campaign to 'think sprinkler' is catching on with fire chiefs
FIRE service bosses in Cheshire have been "so impressed" with a sprinkler safety campaign started in Derby that they have invited a city campaigner to speak to their chiefs.
City councillor Sara Bolton has been working with Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service to convince construction bosses to fit sprinkler systems in new homes built in the city.
Last month, representatives from local building firms were invited to Quad for a seminar put on by the county's firefighters and Ms Bolton, which aimed to show how sprinkler systems can save lives in the event of house fires.
As a result of a report on the seminar published in the Derby Telegraph, Keith Brooks, head of community fire protection at Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, got in touch with Ms Bolton to ask her to speak to his service's fire authority.
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Mr Brooks said: "What we were so impressed with was how Ms Bolton had used her position in Derby City Council to get members to agree to write to the Government to show their support for the sprinkler campaign.
"It is one thing to have firefighters saying sprinklers are a good thing. People tend to say 'well, of course you'll say that'. It has a much bigger impact when you have other people, especially councillors, making the same point.
"So we asked if Ms Bolton could come and talk to our fire authority to show how she persuaded the council to back the campaign."
Derbyshire Fire Service has launched a campaign to try to get as many people as possible to sign a petition demanding that fitting sprinkler systems in new buildings becomes a legal requirement.
But Sean Frayne, chief executive and chief fire officer for the service, admitted it could need legislation to be passed.
So the service is now targeting builders directly.
Ms Bolton said she was pleased to see the campaign being taken on in other counties.
She said: "Derby is leading the way here. We are speaking with developers in the early stages of plans and requesting that they put plans for sprinklers in. It's all we can do right now, until the law is changed.
"But it is great to see enthusiasm from other authorities."