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The BBC reports that fire destroyed a building at Ravendale Infant School in Derby, UK on 5 October and most of St Mary’s Catholic Voluntary Academy on 3 October. Neither was fitted with sprinklers. Gavin Tomlinson, Chief Fire Officer for Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service said that the second fire was started deliberately but that at St Mary’s ‘the cause is undeterminable at this moment because of the extent of the damage’.

School fires remain one of the largest causes of fire losses in the UK. For over 15 years insurers, teaching unions, fire brigades and sprinkler organisations have been urging the government to require sprinklers in new schools. It has yet to do so and according to Zurich insurance only one in six new schools is protected with sprinklers. There is an economic case to fit sprinklers in schools and the government should see that this is done so as to protect its investment of taxpayers’ money.

Sprinklers are already required in new schools in Scotland and Wales. If you support the fitting of sprinklers in English schools please sign this government petition.