Play misty for me

Play misty for me

Roger Bisby offers a sprinkling of good advice.

During the lovely summer Eastbourne pier burned down. It is by no means unusual for seaside piers to burn down. In recent years I can remember it happening to West Pier in Brighton and Southend pier. No doubt there have been others. On the face of it a pier is the last structure you would expect to burn down, after all it stands in water and it should not be that difficult to pump that water very quickly through a sprinkler system or a hosepipe. Yes, I know it is salt water (which is corrosive) but it doesn’t have to sit in the pipework. So long as it is available as a back-up, the sprinkler system can start with mains water. There may be some good reason why piers don’t have effective sprinklers but I can’t see it.

Sprinkler systems are used in a variety of buildings these days (though perhaps not piers) and although they once used to cause a great deal of water damage, low water content systems have taken over. These are often called fog or mist systems. They are much quicker at putting out fires because a fine mist turns to steam and cools the fire and also displaces oxygen – without which a fire will die instantly.

The cost of installing a sprinkler system during the build is not huge yet very few installers consider a sprinkler system to have any real appeal to the homeowner. This may be the case but my feeling is that there is a market out there for a simple domestic sprinkler system, particularly among the elderly, and none could be simpler than Automist ( which can be fitted easily by plumbers. It takes up very little room and requires hardly any pipework because the mist travels through the building, drawn by the oxygen hungry fire. The beauty of it is that it also turns off automatically when it has extinguished the fire. What’s not to like about a system like that?

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