Fire prevention at school: 5 tips to keep everyone safe
Headlines were ablaze recently with the news that a fire had burnt down part of Wynberg Boys’ High School. Fortunately, the school was empty at the time and no injuries were sustained, but the academic wing that caught alight suffered extensive damage. The probable cause of the fire was identified as an electrical short circuit.
Unfortunately, incidents such as these are not isolated, and each year a number of fires break out at schools around the country, with varying causes. This is why it’s important to take fire safety very seriously and to take careful measures to avoid the outbreak of fire in schools.
Check electrical appliances
Any devices in a building that have a plug should be checked periodically to ensure they are in good working order. This includes any electrical tools and appliances, even those brought in by teachers that don’t necessarily belong to the school.
Check all fire safety equipment
Legally, all school buildings must be equipped with a sufficient number of fire extinguishers and/or hoses. It’s important that this equipment is maintained and checked regularly.
Implement a fire-free zone
Have a designated area for teachers who smoke, equipped with the appropriate cigarette disposal containers. This will avoid cigarette butts being neglected in places where a fire could break out.
Signs for safety
Ensure that your school has the correct and sufficient signage to direct people to fire extinguishers and fire exits. Each classroom should have a map showing the path to take from that classroom should an incident occur.
Have an escape plan
Even with the proper checks and policies in place, accidents can and do happen. If a fire were to break out at school, is everyone aware of the procedure to escape or evacuate? Additionally, is all the emergency lighting operational, and are the fire escape stairs always clear? Hold regular fire drills so that everyone is aware of their roles and the evacuation procedure.