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This article was reproduced with the kind permission
of the British Broadcasting Corporation



Friday, 16 November 2007, 14:59 GMT
All new homes 'need sprinklers'

A call has been made for sprinklers to be fitted as standard into all new homes in Kent and Medway.

The fire service's "Safer with Sprinklers" campaign also targets schools and all premises occupied by vulnerable or elderly people.

The initiative was started on Friday in an attempt to reduce the number of fire-related deaths in Kent and Medway to as low a number as possible.

House builders and council bosses were urged to make sprinklers mandatory.

Chief fire officer Charlie Hendry said: "Kent and Medway face a massive house-building programme over the coming years, and I believe those who plan, design and build new homes have a responsibility to make sure residents are safe from the potentially devastating effects of fire.

School destroyed

"We are urging the county's key opinion formers to endorse the installation of sprinkler systems in all new homes, and also in existing properties where vulnerable people are most at risk."

A campaign launch on Friday heard from the head teacher of Lympne Church of England School, near Hythe, which was completely destroyed in a fire in September 2006.

Joyce Rhodes later said it was clear that had there been sprinklers in her school when the fire broke out there would have been none of the devastation.

"In actual fact, we would still be there," she said, adding that the new replacement school would definitely be built with sprinklers.

A BBC South East Today report was also shown, about a blaze in June in Bell Road, Maidstone, in which a 15-month-old baby girl was killed.