Nearly all schools practice fire drills and have a strong warning in place if a fire starts within their facility. However, between 2007 and 2011, nearly 5,700 educational institutions caught fire somewhere within their building. Of these fires, 71% were K-12 schools. Half of these schools that caught fire were acts of arson. The remaining, unintentional fires were the result of faulty heating units or chemical interactions in labs.
Planning ahead of time is key for prevention and preparing for an emergency. The plan should be understood by everyone involved and be easily implemented in case of a fire.
Ensure safety precautions
Make sure all safety recommendations at your facility are being followed. Safety recommendations include a certain number of proper sprinklers, fire alarm pulls, smoke detectors, and fire extinguishers within the building. Ensuring that all fire alarms, sprinklers, and fire exits are in working condition is important.
Prominently display school blueprints
Place school blueprints in every classroom or near main doorways. Displaying school blueprints will help staff and students find the closest exit and help firefighters navigate the school in case of an emergency.
Choose a meeting place
Establish a meeting place in which everyone knows where to go. In case of a fire, or any emergency in that matter, letting everyone know the plan, what to do, and where to go can be life-saving information.
Practice fire drills and instruction
The best way to prepare staff and students for a fire is to practice. When you practice drills often, it can help simulate for real-life emergencies. Drills help teach everyone the plan and what they should do in case of a fire.
Teaching Fire Education
Remind students that drills should be practiced. Teach them basics of “stop, drop, and roll”, getting low to the floor, and touching the door handle before opening doors. This can also be life-saving information students can pass onto their family members.
The most important take away when protecting your facility is to be prepared for any type of emergency and training all staff to be empowered in a situation and know what steps need to be taken to protect students.