It’s that time of year when teenagers across the country are pulling their hair out and anxiously doing as much revision as possible. We’ve all been there, done that, and are now grateful we no longer have that worry.
So the last thing teenagers need is the sound of alarm bells ringing while they sit their tests.
And that’s why it’s good to get on top of fire safety before important events on the school calendar, such as exam season.
Of course, you’ll want the alarms to sound if there is a real emergency. But it would be frustrating to find it was a false alarm which interrupted them.
You will also want to ensure that pupils and staff know what to do when they hear the alarms. Where do they go, and how do they get there?
You need everything to go as smoothly as it can to give the innovators of tomorrow the best chance possible. Well, our safety tips should prove useful then.
Preventing A Fire
Good fire safety is something which should be undertaken by staff and pupils alike.
A good starting point is to inform pupils of the risks and dangers. Making them aware of the consequences might just be enough to prevent an intentional fire from being started.
But there is also safety in numbers. There are more of them than there are of you, so you should make them feel able to inform staff of any potential issues they find.
That way, you have more eyes on the lookout.
And in a school, there are multiple risks as you try to give the pupils as many experiences as possible, such as cooking. Not only are you ensuring they can cook stuff more complicated than a microwave meal, but that they can do so safely too.
The same goes with science and the use of Bunsen burners. All you need to do is advise them how to use any equipment. But also, advise them on what they should do if something does go wrong.
You need to be certain that all equipment you use is safe as well.
And that’s why all gas and electrical equipment needs to be subject to annual checks which get carried out by a professional. That way, any faults are detected and rectified before they can cause any harm.
Preparing For A Fire
Of course, we all hope that the time never comes when we need to use our fire safety procedures. But that isn’t an excuse for not being ready.
It’s imperative that there is an assembly point and that everyone is aware of where it is. In fact, this should be one of the first pieces of information everyone learns.
But there should also be signs around the entire school which state what should be done in the event of a fire, and where to assemble.
Fire safety signs are important as they are ideal for those who may not know the building very well. If an exit is blocked, they can direct people to an alternative exit route.
Signs placed by fire safety equipment are also helpful for informing everyone how to operate them and how to use them. They can help stop a small fire from escalating.
However, it is important to emphasise that you don’t expect pupils to use them, and they should focus on getting to safety.
Fitting anti-tamper tags onto fire extinguishers is the best way of keeping them reliable. If removed or damaged, it is an indicator of use or tampering.
Annual fire extinguisher servicing gives you the peace of mind that everyone can rely on them if needed.
Detecting A Fire
Your school is likely to have a fire system of some kind already installed. And with the use of zones, you’ll be able to instantly see where the alarm was set off.
But you need to ensure you have a range of suitable detectors fitted throughout the school.
In cooking areas and science labs, heat detectors are far more appropriate than smoke detectors. It means that the whole school hasn’t got to evacuate every time there is a practical cooking class.
Whatever detectors you have fitted, they also need to be kept clean so that there is no delay in recognising a fire. Plus they reduce the likelihood of false alarms.
Call points are also essential so that the alarm can be raised if someone discovers a fire before the detectors do.
Unfortunately, this presents the temptation to some pupils to set the fire alarm off, so it will be important that you stress the seriousness of setting off the alarm maliciously. After all, not only is it disruptive to the whole school, but it may take the fire service away from a real threat.
Many schools use their fire alarm systems to also signal the end of class, break or lunch, so ensure the alarm for a fire is distinct enough and that everyone is aware of how it will sound.
During A Fire
It’s best to practice an emergency evacuation randomly from time to time. This helps everyone to become familiar with the process and what they need to do. And it means that pupils are not so panicked in the event of a real fire.
It is important that everyone remembers that they should exit quickly and calmly. That will ensure that everyone is safe and gets out in plenty of time. Pupils may need reminding that they should leave their belongings behind and not go back to get them until told it is safe to do so.
By assembling in alphabetical order in their class groups, you can quickly and efficiently take a register of who is there. That way, you can swiftly identify if someone is missing.
Even though exam season can be a real headache, fire safety doesn’t have to be.
Keep on top of safety in the school and minimise the risks of something going wrong. You can then give them the best chance of achieving the best results possible.