SEVEN WAYS TO SCHOOL FIRE SAFETY

FIRE safety and security specialists, Safecell, urge schools not to be complacent, following a government report that shows a steady decline in school fires.

In a similar study in 2001, the number stood at 1,300, but the latest figures in 2011/12, show that the figure has nearly slashed in half at 700, with arson the number one cause at 180 fires each year.

Safecell Managing Director, Mick Dunne, underlines the need for robust fire risk assessments and measures. He said: "It's fantastic news that the number of fires in schools has reduced by nearly half. However, with new rulings on corporate manslaughter, schools really need to create a detailed approach to fire safety and security. 

"With that in mind, schools, and all organisations across the board, need to make sure that any fire safety equipment installed, needs to be from a Fire Industry Association accredited business. This will help to make the school, staff and students safe."

There are also seven key actions that schools can take to keep them safe from fire. They are:1. Nominate a responsible person and make sure staff know who it is. If you are a maintained school, this might well be a specialist within your LA team.2. Question staff and students to check that they know what to do in case of fire. Everyone should know how to sound the alarm and to get out safely, without delay.3. Think about the most likely ways in which fires could start. Use of smoking materials and faulty electrical equipment have, in the past, been two of the major causes, but now the most likely source is arson – deliberate ignition. Good lighting, keeping the premises secure and never storing combustible waste near the building, are three practical precautions to minimise your risk.4. Plan and record your maintenance. You should include all the systems and equipment that might come into play in the event of a fire, such as your fire alarm, your emergency lighting and your extinguishers. You must record these checks and any action found to be needed as a result. Record too when the action was completed.5. Check fire escape routes regularly and consider anyone who would have special difficulty getting out promptly in a fire. Where this applies, ask the person what support they would need and arrange for it to be provided.6. Fire authorities are increasingly looking to penalise organisations that raise false alarms. One of the most important things you can do to minimise the chances of a faulty system sending an alarm message, is to ensure yours is regularly checked and serviced in line with the supplier’s recommendations.7. Don’t rely on automatic (ARC) calls to alert the fire authorities – if there is a fire, always call 999.For more information, please contact Safecell on 0845 270 6968, email, info@safecellgroup.com, or visit www.safecellgroup.com

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