The Importance of Fire Security in Schools
2020 has not been a great year for anyone, or anything for that matter! But do we ever think about the consequences of school fires? The answer is no, not until it affects us or our children. There have been hundreds of School Fires this year and very local to home too! So what about Fire Security?
According to Home Office National Statistics (2020), there were 271 Primary Schools and 209 Secondary School Fires in 2019. The main reasons being Malfunctioning equipment, faulty electrics, arson, and kitchen blazes.
Derbyshire seems to have been hit hard when it has come to school fires this year. In May 2020, Harrington Junior School accidentally caught on fire my mistake while having some refurbishment work completed. Fortunately, no children were on site due to Lockdown, and all workmen got out safely. The school has been rebuilt with fire doors, but no sprinklers as recommended by building regulations. This was because the school was built in the 1960’s and 1970’s and was thought to be too old. Ravensdale Infant School and St Marys Catholic Voluntary Academy both had school fires two days apart from each other in October 2020. Neither were linked; however, both were started with a ‘naked flame’ and classed as arson.
According to national statistics school fires have been on the increase, whether it is due to incompetent fire protection systems or arson attacks. With PBC Today (2020), suggesting that the fire risk in schools are 1.7 times greater, than non-residential buildings.
From this information, it is more important than ever to have your school or commercial fire alarm serviced and checked regularly. According to Fire Safety Matters (2020), there are more than 1000 school inspections with 66% rated as a poor fixed fire protection system. All fire alarm components have an end-of-life date which is marked on every system from the manufacturer. This means that the component will not be fit enough for its purpose and withstand the pressure of a fire. Most incompetent engineers will not change the components and state the risks. All public liability and buildings insurance will be completely invalid if a fire occurs, even if they still work. Components should not be operated past the ‘use by date’.
Automatic water Sprinklers can drastically reduce the risk of damage when there is a blaze, often containing the fire in a single room. Resulting in less damage, children returning to school faster and it saves taxpayers money! At present, it is not mandatory to have automatic sprinklers fitted, but the department of education think it is necessary to protect buildings, staff, and pupils. The cost of rebuilding a school due to fire damage can cost in the region of £2.8m – £20m.
With an average of 40 fire incidents a month in UK schools, it is essential to keep up to date Fire Security.