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School Fire Safety – Responsibilities And Important Measures

Safety is the number one priority for all schools – there’s nothing more important than being able to protect children and keep them safe. A significant part of this is fire safety and ensuring that no matter what, people are able to leave your building quickly and effectively in an emergency.

Here are some of the regulations that you must abide by and some of the most important things to look out for when making your grounds fire safe.

The Regulations In The UK

As with business premises and buildings in the UK, schools are governed by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, which outlines the key steps that you must take in order to be appropriately safe from the risks of fire.

These include:

  • Fire Alarm System Requirements
  • Emergency Lighting Systems
  • Fire Safety Risk Assessment
  • Fire Safety Training, Emergency Planning, And Drills
  • Fire Extinguishing Equipment

Read our Fire Safety Regulations In 2023 post to learn more.

Important Factors To Consider

According to data, schools are nearly 2 times as likely to experience a fire than other types of commercial building. As a result, it’s important to carefully consider risk factors and the most impactful measures that can aid safety.

The Main Causes of School Fires

There are a few main causes of fires within schools that you should always be on the lookout for in order to minimise these risks on your school grounds.

The primary cause of all school fires in the UK is arson – and according to data, are responsible for a shocking 60% of them. Most of these events take place during school holidays and later in the evening when nobody is there to detect the fire. 

Accidental fires are another common cause, with the main risk factors here being improperly discarded cigarettes, improper waste disposal and spillage of flammable liquids or chemicals. 

Together, these make up the vast majority of school fires, making it crucial to protect your grounds against them in any way that you can. Given the nature of these risk factors, it can be hard to create an active prevention strategy against them – making early detection and rapid fire fighting response all the more necessary.

Other Risk Factors And Hazards

There are a number of additional risk factors that schools must still watch out for and look to prevent effectively with sufficient measures and planning. 

Poorly Maintained / Faulty Electrics

Electrical fires are common throughout the country, causing roughly 12,000 a year. Poorly maintained equipment, improper use of outlets and plugs, and loose wires are all common hazards that you should look out for.

High Risk Classrooms

Schools and colleges also facilitate a number of inherently higher risk areas, with particular classrooms presenting a fire risk. Science labs and classrooms often contain highly flammable chemicals and substances, along with Bunsen burners that can quickly lead to fires escalating. Design and Tech rooms also pose a higher fire risk due to the equipment and electrical machinery that they house.

Emergency Plans

As schools are home to a large number of occupants, many of whom are young and potentially difficult to manage, it’s extremely important that your emergency and escape plans are well thought out and practiced regularly. Doing so will help to keep everyone as safe and organised as possible should an emergency arise.

Fire Alarm System

Fire alarm systems are absolutely essential for prompt fire detection and alerting all occupants of an emergency. Particularly in schools, where there are large numbers of staff and students, an effective and functioning fire alarm system is crucial. On top of ensuring that you have one throughout the entire school, you should also make sure that:

  • It is regularly maintained and in working order at all times
  • The system is not easily activated accidentally or maliciously by students

Fire safety can be the difference between life and death, particularly in schools that are responsible for the safety of many children and young adults. If your school or a school that you know of is lacking in any aspect of fire security, share this article with those responsible for managing fire safety!