FIRE SAFETY IN THE EDUCATION SECTOR
Running an educational establishment isn’t just about providing academic studies for your students, you also need to keep both students and staff safe. And that includes keeping them safe from a fire risk.
Whether your educational establishment is a school, college, university etc. and whether your establishment is big or small, fire safety is crucial for all.
Fire risks in schools
Schools are generally very crowded, and typically loud with children and young adults (the students) messing around in the hallways and in classrooms.
Because of this, it can be harder to spot fire hazards, which is why it’s best you know what they are before they happen.
With an abundance of students, you’re bound to have a lot of electrical appliances. Working with electrical appliances is a common part of learning and teaching in lessons.
For example, IT classes typically have around 30 computers per room. That many computers in such a small space is a fire hazard in itself, not to mention that there is likely to be another IT room full of computers next door.
Computers are a fire hazard for the reasons that;
- Wires could be damaged, leading to sparks that come into contact with combustible materials
- Overheating can cause combustible material to become ignited
Any kitchen carries a fire risk, and a school’s kitchen will be just the same, if not more dangerous purely for its size. School kitchens will usually contain large industrial-style appliances to cook for hundreds or thousands of students.
Large ovens, fridges, fryers and open flames from hobs are all fire hazards within a school kitchen, which is why it’s important that they are maintained appropriately to minimise the risks of a fire.
Arson attacks are very common in schools. Whilst a deliberate arson attack isn’t any fault of your school, it is still a major fire risk and there are ways to prevent them from happening.
Making sure your school property is anti-arson protected is crucial for the safety of you, your students, your staff, and your school business.
Preventing fire hazards in schools
Ensuring your school has sufficient fire safety prevention measures in place for the many different fire hazards present is important to keeping everyone safe. So, what are the prevention methods a school should take for great fire safety?
Fire risk assessment
As previously mentioned, schools are typically crowded, making it hard to determine what the fire risks are whilst your students are there. Carrying out a fire risk assessment is not only a legal requirement that your school needs to undertake, but it allows you to determine the fire risks your school possesses more easily. A fire risk assessment involves identifying any fire hazards at your school and determine what can be improved for better fire safety. Of course, that means any recommendations in a fire risk assessment should be actioned.
Fire safety equipment
In the event of a fire breaking out at your school, having fire safety equipment is essential for putting out the fire and stopping it from spreading and worsening.
Ultimately, having the essential fire safety equipment minimises the risks of damage to your property and more importantly, injuries and fatalities.
Essential fire safety equipment in school’s includes:
- Fire alarms; to alert everyone of a fire
- Fire extinguishers; to put out the fire
- Water sprinklers; putting out fires in a large building
- Security measures (CCTV, locks, fencing etc.); to prevent arson attacks
Fire Safety Training
Staff should be fully trained and aware of fire safety procedures in the event of a fire to ensure the safety of the students and themselves.
Students should also be aware of fire safety procedures at the school, and it is the responsibility of the owner of the school and the staff to teach the students the correct procedure to follow. For example, the fire evacuation process and designated meeting point.
Keep your education establishment safe
Being responsible for the safety of hundreds/thousands of lives every day is a serious task that should be given careful and thorough attention.