A school must always be a fire safety place for our children, school fire safety measures, fire devices, fire drills, fire exits, fire escapes fire alarms are just components of a good school fire safety measures.
School fire tragedies and disasters can be prevented if proper fire safety measures are in place and religiously implemented, school authorities are well informed, right school personnels are suitably designated to implement such measures, all government fire safety policies are followed and of course proper training and cooperation by students and faculties.
School fire prevention is important for the simple reason that a lot of kids are gathered at one spot and a single fire can affect all of them. The chemistry lab which includes huge number of flammable fluids is particularly at risk. A fire in such locations can go out of control and hence, fire safety in schools is now an incredibly important issue.
An uncontrolled fire can cause not just property damage but also huge loss in life. Most schools have canteens, this generally entails dealing with large containers of LPG and accidents with these can lead to fire breakouts too. This problem should also be monitored frequently to make sure fire safety in the school facilities.
Every school must take the necessary precautions in order to prevent anything untoward from happening in the case of an emergency, like a fire. Every floor must have a fire extinguisher, fire alarm and other fire safety equipment necessary that can be used to contain the fire before it spreads.
Students need to be trained by firefighters on how to use some of the firefighting appliances like fire extinguishers. School authorities should make sure that they regularly inspect electrical wiring of the premises. Also, they should create a culture of fire safety among the users of the installation e.g, unplug electrical appliances when not in use, use cords within their marked ratings, and replace damaged or old electrical cords.
An effective fire-prevention program should be tailored to a school’s specific conditions, but in general, should have four key elements:
- Rules about fire safety that limit the potential for fire
- Fire safety and educational programs that inform everyone about the rules
- Regular inspections to ensure the rules are being followed
- Enforcement of consequences to encourage compliance
What to Do in Case of Fire in School
Sound the Alarm
Anyone discovering an outbreak of fire must, without hesitation, sound the alarm by operating the nearest fire alarm call point.
Call the fire service
All outbreaks of fire or any suspected fire, however small, should be reported immediately to the fire service by the quickest means available. This task could well be designated as the responsibility of the school secretary as a telephone will be readily available at that location.
On hearing the fire alarm, students must be instructed to leave the building in single file and in a calm, orderly manner. The person in charge of each class must indicate the exit route to be used and everyone must be directed to a predetermined assembly point. Specific arrangements must be made for students with physical or mental disabilities to ensure that they are assisted during evacuation.
- No running is to be permitted. Running can lead to panic.
- On staircases, everyone must descend in single file. Overtaking of classes or individuals must not be permitted.
- Lifts must not be used.
- Anyone who is not in class when the fire alarm sounds must go immediately to the assembly point.
- No one must be allowed to re-enter the building until told to do so by the fire service in attendance, or, in the case of a fire evacuation drill the senior person in charge.
An area outside the school premises must be designated as an assembly point. It must be clearly marked and easily identified by anyone who may be on the school premises. It must be far enough away from the school premises to give protection from the heat and smoke given off by a fire. It should be in a position that does not put students and staff at risk by emergency vehicles responding to the incident.
One person should be nominated to have overall responsibility to ensure that a roll call is conducted in the event of a fire alarm. They should use the following instructions:
- Immediately after classes have assembled at the assembly point, a roll call or count must be made to check that no-one is still inside.
- Any visitors or contractors on the premises at that time must be included.
- The count at the assembly point must be checked with the attendance registers and visitors book to verify that everyone is out of the building.
- Attendance registers and visitors books should be held at a central point and must be brought to the assembly point when the alarm sounds.
- Each teacher must report to the nominated person in charge of the evacuation to verify that everyone in their charge is accounted for or to inform him/her of the number of people missing.
Preventing fire tragedies and disasters from taking place in schools, is the most crucial issue that a school should deal with. It is a great responsibility of the school to place all essential school fire safety measures to mitigate or if not totally prevent fire disasters and tragedies to happen.