Following on from last week’s Fire Door Safety Week, this month we’re discussing fire prevention methods for schools. Whilst the number of deaths in school fires is thankfully very small, between 2000 and 2005 there were approximately 8,000 fires on school premises. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/276389/buildingbulletin100_onlineversion.pdf) With less than half of these fires being caused accidentally, the biggest cause of school fires is arson.
The economic cost of a fire in a school is huge. Repercussions can include:
• the cost of having to hire temporary accommodation whilst the section of the school is rebuilt
• the cost to replace teaching aids
• loss of facilities for the community
• loss of coursework and personal property belonging to staff and students
• the implications of the number of pupil applications to the school in the subsequent years
Fire Safety Training
One of the key ways to prevent a fire from starting, is to educate and train members of staff in fire prevention and management. Schools have a legal responsibility to carry out risk assessments so as to identify key hazardous areas. These can be carried out by a trained member of staff or a member of the local fire brigade. For example, boxes of paper surrounding a photocopier are a prime target for a fire to ignite, due to the heat given off by a photocopier when in constant daily use, and the fact that paper is fuel for a fire. Staff should take care to identify alternative areas to store high volumes of paper, and the area surrounding the photocopier should be free from clutter.
Fire Detection Systems
It goes without saying that a fully operational fire detection system should be installed within all areas of a school, and should also be tested regularly. Many fires start during the school day, and it is vital that every member of staff and all pupils are fully aware and well-practised in evacuating the school building in a calm but swift manner. All alarms and fire detection methods should be tested regularly.
Fire Shutter Doors
Inevitably, the school kitchen is one of the prime areas within a school with a high fire risk. It therefore pays to have adequate methods in place to prevent a fire from spreading beyond the kitchen and throughout the school. Industrial fire shutters are becoming common place in school canteens, as a fire should remain contained within the kitchen and be prevented from spreading any further. At UK Rapid Door Systems we offer a range of high quality Fire Stopper fire shutter doors which are well suited for use in schools. With the ability to resist a fire for up to 240 minutes, the doors are designed to contain a fire until the emergency services can arrive.
To find out more about our fire shutter doors, give our sales team a call on 0121 565 6165.