With roughly 40 UK schools per month suffering from fires in 2019, ensuring that fire safety practices are addressed should be of the utmost importance to all schools across the UK.
With that said, it’s clear to see that fires in schools are not unusual. In fact, some common ways that fires start in schools are:
- Arson (which accounted for 18% of school fires in 2018-19)
- Faulty Equipment
- Accumulation of rubbish
Additionally, schools could be at a higher risk of injuries as a result of fires due to the amount of teachers and pupils on site at one time.
However, if schools work towards compliance with current legislation and implement good fire safety practices, the chances of fires occurring or causing harm can be significantly reduced.
Fire safety regulations for schools
Although there are no specific regulations for schools surrounding fire safety, all schools must adhere to The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
Who is responsible for meeting the order?
This order states that any person who has some level of control in premises must take reasonable steps to reduce the risk from fire and make sure people can safely escape if there is a fire.
What are the key rules under the order?
- Schools must carry out a fire risk assessment identifying any possible dangers and risks
- They must also consider who may be especially at risk
- Schools should get rid of or reduce the risk from fire as far as is reasonably possible and provide general fire precautions to deal with any possible risk left
- They should take other measures to make sure there is protection if flammable materials are used or stored
- They should create a plan to deal with any emergency
- Periodically review their findings
Best fire safety practices for schools
The main focus of fire safety within schools is to prevent a fire from occurring in the first place. The risk of a fire starting is reduced if the fire hazards are identified, and suitable control measures are put in place.
But what can these control measures include? Here are some of our top tips:
- Carry out fire risk assessments and update them regularly
- Enforce a “No Smoking” policy in the school grounds
- Ensure fire doors are kept shut
- Have electrical equipment PAT tested regularly
- Ensure flammable substances are stored safely
- Regularly dispose of waste
- Make sure that furniture and fixtures are fire retardant
What training do school staff require?
The order states that:
The responsible person must ensure that his employees are provided with adequate safety training.
Here at iHASCO, we offer a wide range of online training courses designed for the use of school staff, and included in our library is our Fire Awareness in Education Training.
Every member of staff legally requires Fire Awareness Training and this online course is an effective and hassle-free way to ensure that your school is working towards compliance with current legislation, as well as providing an easily accessible record of staff training.
This course is CPD Accredited and IOSH Approved and can be completed in as little as 35 minutes before providing the user with a printable certificate upon completion.