Keeping schools safe from fire should be a priority at all levels of school. Regularly scheduled fire drills are a start, but more things can be done to prevent fires and improve existing protection.
Here are some things we think school systems everywhere should be thinking about in addition to escape plans and drills.
Back to Basics
A lot of safety measures available to schools simply involve common sense. That means making sure that staff and students have an overall awareness of fire safety and can integrate it into their day-to-day activities. For example – nothing flammable or combustible should be near a heating unit of any kind. Or perhaps it’s as simple as simply checking the chords connected to a teacher’s electrical device to make sure they’re not stretched or damaged.
Simply put – the best fire safety practices just involve groups of people being more conscious of what can cause fires and what simple things they can do to avoid them.
Doors and Hallways
It’s imperative that schools make sure their emergency exit doors and signage is as well maintained as possible. Keeping these in good, working order ensures that everyone knows where to go in the event of a fire, and that the fire can be contained more easily.
Also – a common mistake staff make on a consistent basis is leaving swinging doors and fire doors propped open to improve the flow of foot traffic in the hallways. This is actually a mistake. Those doors should be closed as much as possible because in the event there is a fire – it’ll be a lot more difficult for the fire to spread. That means safer kids and significantly less damage.
Once you get into middle and high school, you’re introduced to things like chemistry rooms, bunsen burners, and the like. Some include non-traditional classroom settings, workshops, woodshops, kitchens, and other skill-developing spaces. This represents a whole new level of awareness for the people using the space and more safety guidelines to follow – and every school should make sure their staff are thoroughly trained in the dos and don’ts of each.
For example, it’s important for Home Economics teachers to know what to do in the case of a grease fire. Workshops should be kept free of potentially flammable debris. Labs should have any toxic or potentially flammable liquids stored and disposed of properly. And in all of those settings, there should be proper ventilation.
Whether it’s smoke detectors, extinguishers, exists or sprinkler systems – it’s important for schools to make sure their facilities are up to code and ready in the case of a fire.
For more information on this or any other fire protection topic, please call Protegis Fire & Safety.