£2m to fit sprinklers in Southampton’s high-rise homes

Daily Echo: Shirley Towers, where firefighters James Shears and Alan Bannon died. Shirley Towers, where firefighters James Shears and Alan Bannon died.

SOUTHAMPTON’S council-owned high-rise buildings could be fitted with sprinklers after a coroner urged the life-saving systems be installed following the death of two city firemen.

Civic chiefs are considering the £2m fire safety overhaul of up to 19 tower blocks in the hope of avoiding a repeat of the 2010 tragedy at Shirley Towers that claimed the lives of firefighters Alan Bannon and Jim Shears.

As reported, Southampton coroner Keith Wiseman has now urged all social housing providers in the country to retrospectively fit sprinklers in all buildings over 30 metres tall, bringing them into line with legislation for new-builds.

The call came as part of a raft of safety measures he wants introduced, including a review of all the training given to firefighters in the UK, who he said should also be given extra equipment to avoid them getting tangled in falling cables.

Southampton City Council has 16 tower blocks that are more than 30m tall, as well as three on the city centre Holyrood estate that are very close to that height.

The authority’s housing boss Cllr Warwick Payne said it will cost at least £100,000 to install a sprinkler system in each high-rise, although that price could rise if there are difficulties with the set-up in an individual block.

He said the council is looking to ensure all properties, which comply with existing rules, are as safe as possible – but warned spending cash on sprinklers would mean there is less to spend on other improvements.

He said: “Obviously, we will be taking the coroner’s recommendations on board and we will look into whether installation of sprinklers is feasible and we will be pricing up how much it would cost to introduce them.

“We’re already working with Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service to ensure our blocks are as safe as possible, and most of what the coroner has recommended would fit into the category of already being done or we’re taking steps to achieve.

“We’re looking to see if we can retro-fit and replace plastic clips with metal ones that would stand up to extreme temperatures, for which we’re talking thousands of pounds rather than millions, and I would imagine that that will probably be taken forward.

“The money can be found for the scheme, but if we spend £2m or more, that’s £2m we’re not spending on new kitchens or bathrooms, or new council housing.

“That has to be balanced with what price do we put on a firefighter’s life?”

Comments (12)

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3:43pm Mon 11 Feb 13

debzy82 says...

Surely if it saves lives the cost is not an issue? I personally think sprinklers should have been in these blocks already.
Surely if it saves lives the cost is not an issue? I personally think sprinklers should have been in these blocks already. debzy82
  • Score: 0

3:48pm Mon 11 Feb 13

flowergirly says...

As long as they don't go off in every flat each time some dimwit has a fire.....that's quite a lot in our block!!!!!!
As long as they don't go off in every flat each time some dimwit has a fire.....that's quite a lot in our block!!!!!! flowergirly
  • Score: 0

6:20pm Mon 11 Feb 13

IronLady2010 says...

flowergirly wrote:
As long as they don't go off in every flat each time some dimwit has a fire.....that's quite a lot in our block!!!!!!
The sprinklers would be connected the smoke alarm system and would only activate in the area where smoke was detected, I would hope ;-)
[quote][p][bold]flowergirly[/bold] wrote: As long as they don't go off in every flat each time some dimwit has a fire.....that's quite a lot in our block!!!!!![/p][/quote]The sprinklers would be connected the smoke alarm system and would only activate in the area where smoke was detected, I would hope ;-) IronLady2010
  • Score: 0

6:38pm Mon 11 Feb 13

Ginger_cyclist says...

IronLady2010 wrote:
flowergirly wrote:
As long as they don't go off in every flat each time some dimwit has a fire.....that's quite a lot in our block!!!!!!
The sprinklers would be connected the smoke alarm system and would only activate in the area where smoke was detected, I would hope ;-)
I thought sprinklers would be heat activated, especially if they're inside occupied flats and not just the communal areas, then at least when some numpty burns the toast (something we've all done) then peoples homes won't be ruined, they would just stink of smoke for a couple of hours.
[quote][p][bold]IronLady2010[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]flowergirly[/bold] wrote: As long as they don't go off in every flat each time some dimwit has a fire.....that's quite a lot in our block!!!!!![/p][/quote]The sprinklers would be connected the smoke alarm system and would only activate in the area where smoke was detected, I would hope ;-)[/p][/quote]I thought sprinklers would be heat activated, especially if they're inside occupied flats and not just the communal areas, then at least when some numpty burns the toast (something we've all done) then peoples homes won't be ruined, they would just stink of smoke for a couple of hours. Ginger_cyclist
  • Score: 0

6:42pm Mon 11 Feb 13

IronLady2010 says...

Ginger_cyclist wrote:
IronLady2010 wrote:
flowergirly wrote:
As long as they don't go off in every flat each time some dimwit has a fire.....that's quite a lot in our block!!!!!!
The sprinklers would be connected the smoke alarm system and would only activate in the area where smoke was detected, I would hope ;-)
I thought sprinklers would be heat activated, especially if they're inside occupied flats and not just the communal areas, then at least when some numpty burns the toast (something we've all done) then peoples homes won't be ruined, they would just stink of smoke for a couple of hours.
I did think that as soon as pressed submit, well spotted!
[quote][p][bold]Ginger_cyclist[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]IronLady2010[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]flowergirly[/bold] wrote: As long as they don't go off in every flat each time some dimwit has a fire.....that's quite a lot in our block!!!!!![/p][/quote]The sprinklers would be connected the smoke alarm system and would only activate in the area where smoke was detected, I would hope ;-)[/p][/quote]I thought sprinklers would be heat activated, especially if they're inside occupied flats and not just the communal areas, then at least when some numpty burns the toast (something we've all done) then peoples homes won't be ruined, they would just stink of smoke for a couple of hours.[/p][/quote]I did think that as soon as pressed submit, well spotted! IronLady2010
  • Score: 0

8:54pm Mon 11 Feb 13

TEBOURBA says...

What is £2m compared to the lives of two brave firemen with the best years of their lives before them?
As well as fitting sprinklers maybe the council should spend money on educating the people who live there.
No wonder Shirley Towers is referred to by many as the Vertical Zoo!
What is £2m compared to the lives of two brave firemen with the best years of their lives before them? As well as fitting sprinklers maybe the council should spend money on educating the people who live there. No wonder Shirley Towers is referred to by many as the Vertical Zoo! TEBOURBA
  • Score: 0

9:41pm Mon 11 Feb 13

wossit says...

IronLady2010 wrote:
flowergirly wrote:
As long as they don't go off in every flat each time some dimwit has a fire.....that's quite a lot in our block!!!!!!
The sprinklers would be connected the smoke alarm system and would only activate in the area where smoke was detected, I would hope ;-)
Sprinkler systems as a norm are under water pressure and have a glass bead filled with a liquid, as it heats up the liquid in side expands and breaks the glass thus allowing the plug that holds the water back to drop. but for 2M pounds i would say it is a dry riser system same heads but when the fire brigade turn up they connect there pumps and provide the water to the ruptured heads
[quote][p][bold]IronLady2010[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]flowergirly[/bold] wrote: As long as they don't go off in every flat each time some dimwit has a fire.....that's quite a lot in our block!!!!!![/p][/quote]The sprinklers would be connected the smoke alarm system and would only activate in the area where smoke was detected, I would hope ;-)[/p][/quote]Sprinkler systems as a norm are under water pressure and have a glass bead filled with a liquid, as it heats up the liquid in side expands and breaks the glass thus allowing the plug that holds the water back to drop. but for 2M pounds i would say it is a dry riser system same heads but when the fire brigade turn up they connect there pumps and provide the water to the ruptured heads wossit
  • Score: 0

10:10pm Mon 11 Feb 13

Angelfire12 says...

“The money can be found for the scheme, but if we spend £2m or more, that’s £2m we’re not spending on new kitchens or bathrooms, or new council housing.

“That has to be balanced with what price do we put on a firefighter’s life?”

Well, I can tell you for a start Cllr Payne that my daughter would give anything to have her Daddy back!!!

I feel sick that the lives of our brave firefighters are being weighed up against the cost of a new bathroom or kitchen!
“The money can be found for the scheme, but if we spend £2m or more, that’s £2m we’re not spending on new kitchens or bathrooms, or new council housing. “That has to be balanced with what price do we put on a firefighter’s life?” Well, I can tell you for a start Cllr Payne that my daughter would give anything to have her Daddy back!!! I feel sick that the lives of our brave firefighters are being weighed up against the cost of a new bathroom or kitchen! Angelfire12
  • Score: 0

10:17pm Mon 11 Feb 13

IronLady2010 says...

Angelfire12 wrote:
“The money can be found for the scheme, but if we spend £2m or more, that’s £2m we’re not spending on new kitchens or bathrooms, or new council housing.

“That has to be balanced with what price do we put on a firefighter’s life?”

Well, I can tell you for a start Cllr Payne that my daughter would give anything to have her Daddy back!!!

I feel sick that the lives of our brave firefighters are being weighed up against the cost of a new bathroom or kitchen!
Too true! It's not only the Firefighters but all the other residents who are potentially at risk from others.

You can't put a price on saving lives.
[quote][p][bold]Angelfire12[/bold] wrote: “The money can be found for the scheme, but if we spend £2m or more, that’s £2m we’re not spending on new kitchens or bathrooms, or new council housing. “That has to be balanced with what price do we put on a firefighter’s life?” Well, I can tell you for a start Cllr Payne that my daughter would give anything to have her Daddy back!!! I feel sick that the lives of our brave firefighters are being weighed up against the cost of a new bathroom or kitchen![/p][/quote]Too true! It's not only the Firefighters but all the other residents who are potentially at risk from others. You can't put a price on saving lives. IronLady2010
  • Score: 0

10:25pm Mon 11 Feb 13

Ginger_cyclist says...

IronLady2010 wrote:
Angelfire12 wrote:
“The money can be found for the scheme, but if we spend £2m or more, that’s £2m we’re not spending on new kitchens or bathrooms, or new council housing.

“That has to be balanced with what price do we put on a firefighter’s life?”

Well, I can tell you for a start Cllr Payne that my daughter would give anything to have her Daddy back!!!

I feel sick that the lives of our brave firefighters are being weighed up against the cost of a new bathroom or kitchen!
Too true! It's not only the Firefighters but all the other residents who are potentially at risk from others.

You can't put a price on saving lives.
**** right, lives are priceless, kitchens and bathrooms can be replaced later, lives can't be replaced at all, the council needs to pull their manhoods out of each others arses just get on with putting the safety measures that the coroner calls for, into place and pronto.
[quote][p][bold]IronLady2010[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Angelfire12[/bold] wrote: “The money can be found for the scheme, but if we spend £2m or more, that’s £2m we’re not spending on new kitchens or bathrooms, or new council housing. “That has to be balanced with what price do we put on a firefighter’s life?” Well, I can tell you for a start Cllr Payne that my daughter would give anything to have her Daddy back!!! I feel sick that the lives of our brave firefighters are being weighed up against the cost of a new bathroom or kitchen![/p][/quote]Too true! It's not only the Firefighters but all the other residents who are potentially at risk from others. You can't put a price on saving lives.[/p][/quote]**** right, lives are priceless, kitchens and bathrooms can be replaced later, lives can't be replaced at all, the council needs to pull their manhoods out of each others arses just get on with putting the safety measures that the coroner calls for, into place and pronto. Ginger_cyclist
  • Score: 0

12:26pm Tue 12 Feb 13

kingnotail says...

Just knock 'em down.
Just knock 'em down. kingnotail
  • Score: 0

12:29pm Tue 12 Feb 13

Subject48 says...

Air to ground missle (hellfire/tomahawk) is 1.5mil $. Its at least 1 kill each time its used.

Theres your price of life.
Air to ground missle (hellfire/tomahawk) is 1.5mil $. Its at least 1 kill each time its used. Theres your price of life. Subject48
  • Score: 0

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