Is your School Fire Risk Assessment up to date?
Due to the Covid 19 pandemic, over the last 18 months, many schools may have failed to keep up with fire safety. It appears, some contractors haven’t visited site to carry out their usual safety checks and things have genuinely been missed with all the issues that the education sector has faced keeping schooling going during a pandemic. We are finding, whilst carrying out fire risk assessments for schools, that they may have missed some of their statutory fire checks. Doing so has left them more vulnerable to a potential fire and so it is important to make sure your fire risk assessment is up to date.
One of the benefits of a school fire risk assessment is that it is an opportunity for an experienced and competent fire risk assessor to examine fire critical documentation. This includes electrical and gas inspection documents, fire extinguisher service records, PAT inspections, fire alarm service documentation as well as the school fire logbook. The fire risk assessment process allows a fire safety professional to advise whether actions have been missed and to make a value judgement regarding the fire safety of the site. The pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on children and young people, missing classroom time and general school life, and now that schools are fully reopened, it is never too soon to check that your school fire risk assessment is suitable, sufficient, and up to date.
Is your school at risk from fire?
A study conducted by Zurich Municipal Insurers with information based on Home Office data from all forty-four fire authorities in England, found that between April 2015 and April 2020, there were 2301 fires in Primary and Secondary schools. Only 2% of these schools had preventative measures such as sprinklers fitted. It is estimated that large school fires have an impact on approximately 28,000 school students every year, and for a generation that has lost so much school time already, we must do all we can to ensure they are safe, protected and do not miss any more.
School fires happen. Schools have numerous hazards with the potential to cause fire including large electrical installations, complex heating systems, storage of chemicals and hazardous substances, fuels and LPG cylinders. Schools can be at serious risk from arson and, lets face it, much of our school estate is aging. Ensure your fire risk assessment is up to date to mitigate the risk of fire and protect life.
Why do I need to have a Fire Risk Assessment?
The effects of a fire not only disrupt students learning, but they also cost lives and impact on the quality of life. Without appropriate fire safety measures in place, any person on the premises could suffer a life changing injury; buildings could be badly damaged or destroyed; they impact the local community; and can lead to hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of damage to replace and rebuild.
Not only is there a moral reason to carry out fire risk assessments, there is a legal requirement. All schools must comply and adhere to the 2005 Regulatory Reform Order (RRO) to protect staff, pupils, and visitors from the occurrence of, and the potential damages associated with, school fires.
If the legislation is not adhered to, you may be issued with notices and financial penalties, and in severe cases, a prison sentence.
Fire risk assessments should be carried out regularly, at least annually. This should include a physical inspection of your premises, a review of fire critical documentation, an assessment of the training provision and a consideration of fire risk. The likelihood of a fire occurring, the fire risk, can change between assessments subject to numerous factors which can include socio-economic matters such as unemployment in the local area and youth unrest.
What will the Fire Risk Assessment include?
FRA’s should be conducted on buildings annually by a competent, trained Fire Risk Assessor.
On the day of the fire risk assessment the assessor will undertake a detailed inspection of your premises. This will include inspecting escape routes, and procedures, and identifying fire hazards and risks on your premises. The findings allow the fire risk assessor to evaluate, suggest how to remove, or reduce the risks, and advise on fire prevention within your school. They will also carry out an assessment of the suitability of any training you have in place and your evacuation procedure. You will receive a detailed written report after completion of your inspection showing the findings of the assessment and providing action points to improve fire safety. The report provides a comprehensive assessment of the risk of fire based on the findings of the fire risk assessment. The assessor will consider the likelihood of a fire occurring on your site and will suggest the likely impact on human life, should a fire start. This will include a consideration of whether, in the event of fire, it is likely that all people will escape the building or whether, in fact, there is a chance of fatality or multiple fatalities should you suffer a fire.
JCH Safety can help.
Since our company was established in 2014, we have provided health and safety consultancy and services, and Fire Risk Assessments to many schools and educational premises across Coventry and Warwickshire, Birmingham, and the Midlands Region, adding to our knowledge and expertise in both these fields.
As an independent company, our services are competitively priced and expertly delivered by highly qualified, competent, and experienced safety professionals. Certificates of qualifications and professional membership evidence will be provided at the quotation phase, or upon request.
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
How much does a Fire Risk Assessment cost?
Whilst we are transparent with our prices and have no hidden costs, because of the configuration of buildings in many educational settings, please call for your free bespoke, no obligation quotation.
We also offer term heath and safety contracts which includes fire risk assessments.
If you have any queries about any health and safety issues, don’t hesitate to get in touch and we will be happy to help.
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