AT FTS we are regularly asked to provide our extensive range of safety services to local schools, usually all in one go during school holidays so as to cause the least disruption. Some schools, when they contact us for the first time have clearly not had a fire safety expert view their premises for quite some time! In this article, we aim to highlight some of the specific areas that schools should be checking, maintaining and rectifying on a regular basis as well as booking regular testing and inspections in with a qualified and competent Fire Safety company.
Fire Safety For Schools – Fire Doors
As schools are a “high traffic” site, fire doors are often damaged or neglected. The integrity of the door should be checked visually every 6 months, looking particularly for damage or wear and tear to the seals, check the self-closing mechanism still works, remind pupils and staff that fire doors should be kept closed at all times, and a check to ensure the handles, locks and panic devices all work as they should.
Whilst an annual PAT test is strongly recommended for schools, the safety of the appliances should be checked over on a monthly basis. A visual inspection of the unit’s casing, plug and cable is required to ensure there is no damage. Cracked casings, frayed wires and burn or scorch marks are all signs of a potential fire hazard – if in doubt set to one side and make sure it is thoroughly examined at PAT test time.
Again, monthly visual checks are recommended. Make sure the tamper seal is still in place, that the extinguisher is sited in the right position with the correct signage and ensure staff are trained in the appropriate usage.
Emergency lighting is a key element in fire safety for schools. During the official, annual emergency lighting inspection a 3 hour test is conducted to ensure the emergency lighting stays on for this duration. A good practice for schools to do themselves is to check each month that the emergency lights activate when the main power is switched off.
Fire Risk Assessments
A fire risk assessment should be conducted by a qualified and competent person. However, once completed these tend to be filed away and forgotten about. What should be happening is a rolling assessment. Using the official risk assessment as a yard stick, schools should be reviewing the premises, making note of the hazards identified and updating the status of these where appropriate.
If In Doubt – Shout!
As you can see, whilst you may have your fire safety company providing annual inspections and tests there is still plenty of work to be carried out to maintain the fire safety standards. If during your monthly checks you come across an issue and you are uncertain what to do – call us! It’s what we are here for. You won’t be a bother or a nuisance, we would all rather you are safe rather than sorry.
Until next time… stay safe