Thus far, close to 80 people have been killed from the Grenfell Tower fire in London. Attention has been partly placed on the structure's lack of fire sprinklers and the technology's presence in both existing and new residences. A lawmaker wants other decision makers to start embracing the fire safety aspect of sprinklers via sprinkler requirements in the wake of this tragedy.
"What I would like to see is the U.K. government [take] a leaf from Wales," Welsh legislator Ann Jones told the BBC. She was recently honored by NFPA for her influential role in passing Wales' requirement to sprinkler all of its new dwellings. Wales is the first country to pass such a requirement. "I would like to see the U.K. government and the ministers put a commitment that they will put fire safety higher up the agenda - that they will stop talking about the costs because, for me, it's a small amount of money to have.
"I was astonished to see how U.K. ministers could inflate costs of installing sprinkler systems and yet we see the tragedy that's happened." Some legislators seem to be getting the message, as efforts are now under way to fire sprinkler certain residences in certain areas of London.
In North America, the same lofty, cost estimates and cost-cutting efforts prohibiting fire sprinklers have resulted in similar tragedies in one- and two-family settings. (Research has consistently countered these myths.) Please read NFPA President Jim Pauley's commentary on the London fire and how today's fire problem is the result of a "broken system."