024 7771 7503 sales@jchsafety.co.uk

Fire Safety In Schools

Jan 20, 2020

Call JCH Safety on 024 7771 7503

Fire risk is a major concern to all building owners. Fires do happen in schools and colleges with a staggering frequency. It is highly concerning that many schools across Coventry and Warwickshire and the wider West Midlands are not properly prepared for a potential fire. Many schools do not even have an up to date fire risk assessment. This compliance shortfall in itself is a breach of the law.

The Guardian newspaper reported last September (2019) that as many as 67% of English schools have ‘poor’ fire protection systems with only 5% of schools being awarded ‘excellent.’ These statistics are not acceptable as fire poses such a significant risk to life. JCH Safety, a local fire risk assessment and health and safety company, is making it our mission to improve fire safety in schools. We are calling upon schools across Coventry, Nuneaton, Rugby, Birmingham and the West Midlands to get in touch with us. We can help to solve this serious fire safety violation. It is important that schools and businesses are aware that failure to comply with the law results in prosecution. Fines can be tens of thousands of pounds for failing to comply with fire safety regulations.

Schools are packed full of fire risks including ageing and damaged electrical systems; portable electrical devices; gas pipework; D&T machines; kitchen equipment; and computers. It has become apparent that safety and fire safety in particular is being  forgotten. This is putting young lives at risk. Training for many schools has not been done, inspections have been missed and fire doors have not been maintained. These vital safety items improve fire safety and protect life. Schools and organisations are being prosecuted for failure to comply with their statutory duties. JCH Safety can help to resolve these shortfalls and set you on track to improving fire safety compliance.

Some more concerning information….

Fire related fatalities rose to 268 in the year ending June 2019. This is a huge number of deaths all related to fire. In the same period there were 573,221 fire and rescue service incidents. This is a huge number of incidents. The insurers Zurich, say there are more than 1000 school premise fires a year. On average fires cost £2.8m for larger incidents so the monies and disruption involved in fires is immense. Let alone the risk to lives that are associated with fire. A school fire results in facilities being closed, school reputations being damaged and they even disrupt the wider community. School fires damage education and prevents students fulfilling their potential. These facts clearly show that fire is a real risk to schools. There is a real chance that your building at some point will experience a fire. Schools in Birmingham, Coventry and the West Midlands are therefore at risk along with schools nationwide.

The concerning facts are that many schools do not have sufficient fire preventative measures in place.

You might think that your school is compliant but the chances are that there are many things you are not doing that you should be. The only true measure is to carry out a fire safety audit and to update your fire risk assessment. Fire safety risk management is not just about having a fire drill. It is much more sophisticated than this. You must have an up to date, suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment carried out by somebody who has the appropriate training, knowledge and experience to do it. Failure to have an appropriate fire risk assessment is a criminal offence. Ideally, your fire risk assessment should be reviewed at least annually. In addition to your school fire risk assessment do you have:

  • School fire evacuation plans
  • Fire extinguishers complete with an up to date service history and records of regular inspections
  • Fire alarm service history with records of regular safety testing
  • Fire Log Book
  • Records and details of any previous school fire incidents
  • Records and details of any previous school inspections by the Fire Service
  • Records and details of any fire related prosecutions or improvement notices
  • Fire marshal training for schools
  • Evidence of basic fire awareness training for school staff
  • Lightning conductor service history
  • Emergency lighting service history and regular testing records
  • Gas service documentation
  • Records and details of school kitchen ductwork inspections and cleaning regime
  • Records and details of school fire drills
  • Records and details of school fire door inspections
  • Records and details of portable appliance testing (PAT)
  • Five year fixed wiring inspection documentation
  • GEEPS and PEEPS for schools

In addition to documentation and servicing it is vital that you manage and maintain your property. Walls, doors and ceilings need to be maintained to a good standard so if a fire breaks out in your school that it can be contained to that area. Housekeeping needs to be of a high standard. Escape routes including school corridors and stairs need to be kept sterile which also means free from coats and bags. Fire doors need to be regularly opened and checked that they work. There is a lot to good fire safety but once you establish a regime you can feel confident you have reduced the risk of fire in your school. JCH Safety works with schools across the midlands to improve fire safety.

Good fire safety management will significantly reduce the risk of fire at your school.

The fire service prosecute organisations for failure to comply with their duties under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. One such example is the Wakefield Grammar School Foundation who have recently been prosecuted for failures to comply with fire safety and fined £10,000. Are you aware of your duties and are you prepared in the event of a fire? Do you have an up to date fire risk assessment? Failure to have a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment is an offence so if yours is more than a year old, or you do not have one, it is time to act.

A suitable and sufficient school fire risk assessment should be carried out by a trained, competent and experienced person. It is likely that you will need an outside specialist to carry out this role in order to ensure a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment has been carried out. When you choose someone to do your fire risk assessment think about who is going to do it carefully. Ask to see evidence of qualifications, experience and professional memberships. JCH Safety always makes such information available to our clients at the quotation phase. Make sure to keep these records and also copies of their insurance documentation on file. It might be needed in the event of a fire happening in the future to demonstrate that you have done everything you should do to have attempted to have prevented it. Fire is the greatest risk to your school and poses a real threat to life.

Let JCH Safety Help

JCH Safety are based in Nuneaton, Warwickshire on the outskirts of Coventry. As an independent fire prevention and health and safety consultancy serving the West Midlands we have amassed a wealth of knowledge and expertise relating to school health and safety and in the field of school fire risk assessments. Our services are competitively priced and expertly delivered by highly qualified, competent and experienced safety professionals.
Our services include:

  • School fire risk assessments (FRA’s)
  • School fire prevention consultancy
  • Health and safety consultancy for schools
  • Term/ SLA contracts for health and safety and one off projects
  • Fire, health and safety training for schools

If you require any assistance with fire prevention or health and safety please get in touch.

Call 024 7771 7503

We also arrange first aid training, provide online health and safety training and offer health and safety software solutions. Ask to find out more.
We work across the West Midlands including:
Coventry – Nuneaton – Bedworth – Rugby – Birmingham – Leicester – Hinckley – Warwick – Leamington