When conducting any fire safety assessments, we at DEM Fire need to be aware of contributing risks to develop an accredited solution that meets compliance requirements using the property location, features and how the public uses the property. In a school’s case, this is the students, staff and parents.
In a private school environment, we pay specific attention to the adjoining boarding house facilities, an area that a school and its fire and safety representatives pay explicit and proactive attention to. Boarding house fire safety raises the duty of care of the school to another level.
Working with third-party experts on fire evacuation plans will require a detailed evaluation of the premises via consultation with the school, its safe zones and assembly locations away from potential hazard areas.
Communication forms a significant part of any fire evacuation plan. In a school environment, this is via the school’s PA system, which is why in the event of a fire alarm, the school will initially place classes under lockdown so their teachers can give the students effective and clear instructions.
Although each school has a detailed emergency evacuation system and, depending on its classification, a sprinkler and fire hydrant solution, we must consider other risk factors when developing the fire safety solution.
In older towns and cities, many schools have been operational for decades and most of the school buildings are still the original structures. This poses heritage property risks that we need to address.
Aside from the risk of a heritage property and part of that community’s physical history burning down, the timber frames of old buildings make the task of fire protection more difficult.
Older electrical systems meeting new age demands also put considerable pressure on fire safety.
Early detection fire safety solutions are fundamental for heritage schools for a heightened alert level of protection.
Many schools have established performing arts centres. Many of these centres have adjoining theatre facilities too.
Not only do dry smoke, stage lighting and flammable curtains pose large fire threats, but evacuating large numbers of people out of small areas does too.
Schools for younger children pose another type of fire risk. In these scenarios, stringent guidelines must be adhered to by the school and their fire representative will organise for classes to practise evacuation procedures and regular fire safety drills every three months.
Holiday periods are the best time for undertaking fire safety and fire prevention maintenance at schools, to avoid disrupting classes. This means that we undertake a large amount of work in a limited period of time, considering schools are generally on holiday at or around the same time. We need to conduct meticulous planning before maintenance takes place, and deadlines become fundamental in getting the job done.
Have you considered what fire safety solutions you apply at your school? Have you conducted a school fire safety audit with accredited fire safety practitioners? We’d love to hear from you, so be sure to contact us.