Flames, sparks, hot objects, flammable chemicals, and chemical accelerants can increase a fire’s rate of spread. National Fire Protection Association, U.S. fire departments say an average of 4,980 structure fires in educational buildings each year. So it is important to stress fire safety education in schools around the world. Take a look at the following necessary preventive measures to cut the risks of fire hazards in schools and other educational institutions.
Ways to prevent fire hazards in a Schools, Educations Institutions
Smoke detection systems
The first few minutes of a fire are difficult to maintain. Installing automatic fire alarm systems like smoke and heat detectors is mandatory in international building codes. It is useful in spotting fires at times when occupancy in the building is low. Therefore, school authorities should set up fire safety alarms in different places in the schools.
Smoke suppression systems
Fire extinguishers will be useful if they work properly, so it is necessary to check them regularly. In the case of multistories or high-rise educational buildings, where it is hard to access and shift, install automatic sprinkler systems. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), has shown that automatic suppression systems lower the cost of damage by 60%.
Having sufficient escape routes out of the school buildings is mandatory in accordance with its scale and occupancy. School buildings should maintain the Bangladesh National Building Code, a detailed set of guidelines for constructing, maintaining, and operating buildings of all types.
School buildings must ensure that staircases, stairwells, and corridors are well-maintained, ventilated, and free of obstacles in order to be effective in an emergency.
Dispose of waste regularly
Waste is a burnable substance and is often the cause of fires. So make sure storing waste bins and wheelie bins in compounds away from the school building and disposing of them regularly will reduce the risk.
No smoking policy
Ensure the ‘No Smoking’ policy in the school that - staff, parents, visitors, students – everyone must cling to this policy. Make sure that students and others related to schools are educated about the fire risks.
Besides, do not store flammable substances-chemistry or equipment here and there. These substances can cause a fire, therefore keep these gear and elements in safe places. Try to keep these things in a locked place, cabinet, or room when not in use. Moreover, fire-retardant furniture and fixtures can reduce the risk of fire.
Test electrical equipment
Schools need to use electrical equipment in drama classes, school plays, or assemblies. Faulty electrical equipment causes fires. So, it is fundamental to do a PAT test regularly to minimize the risk. We often hear that electrical shock circuit causes fire and they are very dangerous. Make sure to unplug equipment at night, where appropriate.
Schools building must observe proper rules and systems in the case of maintaining and installing fire doors. The school authority must check all doors regularly to guarantee that hinges and seals are in good working order. So, make sure to keep fire doors shut. If the fire doors will not close correctly, they must be attended to quickly, as they are no longer effective.
Fire safety training
It is imperative to train all staff and students of the educational institute about the ins and outs of fire safety. They should know the probable causes of fire. Besides, they must know what to do in event of a fire, and so on.
Moreover, carry out regular fire drills to prevent panic in an emergency. Regular fire drills make students and staff with emergency evacuation methods at little cost. So, it is essential to nominate a fire safety officer in every school building to ensure that this becomes standard operating procedure. When everyone is aware of fire safety, this will reduce the risk of fire as well as ensures the safety of everyone in an event of a fire.
Along with these, every school must complete fire drills regularly. This will be great to identify what precautions are needed to prevent fire risks in your school, and what to do if a fire does break out.
Accessible to firefighters
Schools building should have enough space or stand just beside the road so that there is enough space to access firefighters easily. When the fire is broke out, it does not take time to spread. If firefighters cannot access it easily, it would be too late to keep the situation under control.
Any work becomes easy and simple if there is collaboration. As students stay huge time with parents, they can play an important role to teach fire safety rules to their children. So, school authorities can encourage parents to practice home fire drills with their children and prepare them in the event of a fire.
Necessary steps if fire hazards occur in a school
- Make students aware of immediate danger.
- Sound the alarm.
- Perform any fire drill duties that are previously assigned to you.
- Make sure to Fight the fire with the proper equipment if you don’t want to put yourself or anyone else in danger. But do not fight the fire when it is spreading rapidly or blocking your exit. However, leave the building as soon as possible if you do not know how to use the fire equipment.
- Close room doors and hallway doors immediately to prevent air movement and the spread of smoke.
- Don’t panic. Assure students that the fire plan is going on and remain calm. Make sure you are confident enough as your confidence and judgment are really important and will prevent panic.
- Remember that you need to take school fire drills seriously always. Besides, shift the school when the alarm sounds.
- Continue fire drills on a regular basis. Take the initial fire drill for the school year from early September to October.
- Make sure school employees know how to turn out their work areas and perform their fire drill duties safely.
We never expect fire anywhere in our existence whether in residence or school. So, by taking proper and perfect steps the authorities can minimize fire hazards in schools and other educational institutes. Our above-mentioned tips will help the students stay aware of fire risks and help the school authorities to take appropriate steps to reduce fire hazards in school.
SOURCE: UNITED NEWS OF BANGLADESH