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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 September 2007, 06:58 GMT 07:58 UK
Bid for sprinklers in new homes
Firefighters generic
Sprinklers can help save lives by stopping fires spreading
Legislation could make it compulsory for every new home in Wales to be fitted with sprinklers.

Vale of Clwyd AM Ann Jones won an assembly ballot to be the first individual AM to introduce a Legislative Competence Order (LCO).

She said working in the fire service for almost 30 years had made her aware of the "devastating" impact of fires.

Under the 2006 Government of Wales Act, the Welsh assembly can create its own legislation in certain areas.

We at North Wales Fire and Rescue Service are fully supportive of this drive to help save the lives of our residents
Simon Smith, chief fire officer

She said there had been one death every month from house fires between April and December 2006 in north Wales alone.

It is not certain that Ms Jones's legislation will be passed, but she said: "It is estimated that including a sprinkler system adds around 1% of a new home's build cost - less than the laying of decent carpets throughout the building.

"There is no reason why the assembly cannot take a UK lead by installing sprinklers in all new homes in Wales."

Ms Jones was "delighted" the assembly government now required sprinklers to be installed in all new school buildings and, wherever practicable, in existing school buildings undergoing renovation in Wales.

Ms Jones won a ballot of backbench AMs for the chance to put forward the LCO to make it compulsory for automated fire sprinklers to be fitted into all new homes in Wales.

'Incredibly sophisticated'

If it is conferred by Parliament, it will allow the assembly to pass a Welsh law, known as an Assembly Measure.

Simon Smith, chief fire officer for North Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said: "Sprinklers attack a fire in its very early stages and can prevent it from spreading and causing injury or loss of life."

Mr Smith said the systems were "incredibly sophisticated", and cases of false activation were extremely rare.

He said it was a myth that all heads of the sprinkler system activated at once.

"In fact, the water released by a sprinkler will cause much less damage to a building than the amount of water used by firefighters tackling an advanced fire," he said.

"We at North Wales Fire and Rescue Service are fully supportive of this drive to help save the lives of our residents by helping to ensure their safety in their own homes."

Alarm plea after OAP's fire death
17 Aug 07 |  North West Wales
AM's call for school sprinklers
23 Mar 06 |  South West Wales

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