Back To School: Fire Alarms in Schools & Colleges
Nowhere is fire safety more important than in schools, colleges and universities, where young people spend a large portion of their time.
From disruption of education and the financial impact of fire damage to the risk of pupils or staff losing their lives, a fire in a school can have devastating consequences. That’s why this month at Surrey Tech Services Ltd, we’re going to explore the importance of fire alarms for schools, as well as other aspects of fire safety within the education sector.
Fire Alarm Systems In Schools
The best defence against some of the disastrous consequences we mentioned is ensuring that your school has the right fire alarm system in place. This gives the best chance for early detection and warning in the event of a fire, so that children and staff can swiftly evacuate. In addition, it will allow fire and rescue services to attend faster to help limit damage to the school itself.
We often talk about the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 in relation to businesses, but it also applies to schools. This means there is a legal obligation to have adequate detection in place, along with regular maintenance to ensure it is working at all times.
Schools should also adhere to Building Bulletin 100 (BB 100), which details more guidance on ‘Fire Detection & Alarm Systems’, including a series of questions to help ensure the right system is chosen, such as:
- Is the system for life safety and/or property protection?
- Should the system be automatic or triggered by manual call points?
- Does it need to be linked to a monitoring station?
- Will it be linked to hold-open devices on doors?
- What type of sounders are required?
- Does the school need a voice alarm system?
- Is there anyone with hearing impairments who needs to be considered?
You can find out what the most suitable fire alarm system for your school, nursery or college is by asking our experienced team, but addressable fire alarms are often recommended for large schools as they can detect and pinpoint the exact location of a fire immediately.
Testing & Maintaining School Fire Alarms
Testing and maintenance of the fire alarm in your school is vital to make sure it is always in top condition, giving everyone peace of mind and helping you to meet your legal obligations.
Testing and visual inspection for your system should be carried out by the responsible person on a weekly and monthly schedule, with more intensive maintenance inspections performed at least once every six months. You can learn more about the legal requirements for testing and maintaining fire alarm systems in our recent post.
Fire Safety Tips For Schools
In addition to getting the right level of fire detection, there are a number of other things you can do to help in your fire safety efforts within schools. Here are just a handful of additional tips:
- Maintain electrical appliances and equipment – electrical fires are a common cause of fire, so make sure PAT testing is performed regularly.
- Keep exits clear – escape routes should be kept clear, with regular checks to ensure items do not block the way.
- Store flammables securely – keep matches, candles and flammable substances safely locked away.
- Acquire fire safety equipment – from relevant fire extinguishers to fire blankets for kitchen areas, make sure your premises have the right equipment.
- Conduct regular fire drills – this will help staff and pupils to understand how to act and where to go in an emergency without panic.
Appointing A Responsible Person
The responsible person when it comes to fire safety for schools is often the headteacher or manager of overall security for the site. This is usually appointed by the local school board/management authority.
Once appointed, the responsible person should:
- Make sure periodic fire risk assessments are performed
- Make sure fire drills are conducted with evacuation plans in place
- Make sure fire detection and alarm systems are maintained
- Make sure adequate fire safety equipment is provided
School Fire Risk Assessment
A fire risk assessment is a legal requirement for all schools, colleges and universities, and should be conducted by a competent assessor. The assessment must take into account the varying needs of occupants, including those who require special consideration due to impairments or mobility issues.
You can book a fire risk assessment for your school with our professional team.
School Fire Drills
School fire drills can seem like a major undertaking if you have a large school, but they form an extremely important part of the framework for fire safety.
The three main benefits of regular fire drills in schools are:
- Pupils and students become familiar with where to go and how to act in the event of hearing a fire alarm
- Staff get a chance to practise guiding students
- The fire alarm system is given a thorough test so that any faults can be addressed
Whether you run a school and need to upgrade the fire alarm system to meet legal obligations and new risks or you are involved in developing new educational facilities and need advice on getting the right system, look no further than our team here at Surrey Tech Services Ltd.
With years of experience and a wide selection of alarms from the leading manufacturers, we have something to cover every requirement. Our team can take care of fire alarm installation and servicing to ensure lives are protected at all times through early detection and warning.
Call today for expert advice and high-quality fire alarms in London and the Home Counties – including Maidenhead, Guildford and Slough. You can even arrange a free site survey with our team for your premises.