School Fire Safety. Having a sign written vehicle does work! Recently, we were working at a Milton Keynes school, when our van was spotted. This person then went into the school to speak to the office staff and get some further information about us. Thankfully the client has been a customer for many years and she had no hesitation in recommending us. It just happened that this person was the business manager at another school in the area and was looking for a local company to do their PAT testing.
School Fire Safety
How do I know this, the potential new client did call through to us and explained! We made an appointment to go visit the school for a no obligation site survey. On arrival, we were greeted by not only the business manager but the caretaker and school health and safety representative. While we were walking around, it became very apparent that the school was new and had only been open since September 2016. The equipment had never been tested before. Now, no matter what, I have this ability to spot “my pet hate” at a thousand yards, yes, I could see a cardboard wiring diagram still in situ on an appliance, so I did make sure that I removed that one and a few others that I saw, explaining why it is so important to remove them. If you want to know why read this article: My Pet Hate And A Total Fire Hazard
School Fire Safety
I also noticed that the fire extinguishers still had the original transportation seals in place and there was no service label on any of them. When you buy fire extinguishers for the first time, there is a seal to prevent them from discharging, which needs to be removed and the unit needs to be checked over to ensure there was no damage or detriment in transit, this is commonly known as a commissioning service.
There was one other problem every extinguisher had been mounted on a bracket just high enough not to be resting on the floor, which is an incorrect placement. Fire extinguishers must be mounted at a specific height when wall mounted. Now I’m quite tall so in the event of an emergency and the due to the size of these extinguishers, you would have to bend down to pick them up. On careful consideration, it also became very apparent that these extinguishers were the wrong size for the size of area being protected, and had been fitted in the wrong place.
It was then that I asked who installed them only to be told the builders, obviously qualified engineers. It does annoy me, when as far as the school was concerned they were compliant, however in the event of a fire, the insurance company would more than likely have refused the claim, as they did not have correctly maintained and serviced fire-fighting equipment. And with transport seals still in place the user would have found it much more difficult to tackle a fire.
I could see the colour drain from these people’s faces especially when I explained that the extinguishers may have been purchased off the Internet and may not have been approved to British Standards. Scarily, they told me that they had recently had a risk assessment completed and nothing was highlighted, that worried me even more.
On returning to the office we sent a quotation for the PAT testing and as requested our recommendations based on the Fire Extinguishers seen. A few days later we received a call, please can you come and service our extinguishers urgently, I did smile as we were listened too and we went to site to complete the service. We were right the extinguishers must have been purchased off the internet, as a number of extinguishers have been manufactured in 2015 and in the case of one specific unit, although put into service only a year ago it was manufactured in 2014, so of the 5-year life before needing a discharge test, it only had 2 left to go. A bigger expense to the client.
One further problem that we encountered during the servicing of the extinguishers was that there was an extinguisher on the roof, with all the plant equipment. Now this unit was on the roof open to the elements and protected with a plastic cover. When checking the extinguisher, it was already showing signs of degradation and was rusty, so we made a recommendation to have it replaced and a cabinet installed. We are just waiting now for the purchase order to complete the service and ensure the school extinguishers are meeting school fire safety regulations.
Until next time, stay safe!