Fire safety is important in all walks of life, but when you are the person responsible for fire safety in a school, college, or university, it becomes even more important. Our children and young adults are vitally important, and education institutions often have high numbers of pupils, teaching and maintenance staff working on site every day. With so many people present, it is vital that there is a stringent fire safety policy in place, with clear responsibilities, and access to emergency escape routes, regular fire drills, fire doors, and other protective measures.
With high footfalls in most educational establishments it is easy to see why there is often a problem with fire doors in these settings. As the person responsible for fire safety in a school, it is your job to make sure that everything is above board in terms of fire safety in a school, college or university, and that all fire doors and fire safety equipment is up to scratch and fully maintained.
Aside from the education setting itself, in some colleges and universities, you may also be the person responsible for the safety of halls of residence and other residential complexes that are linked to the education establishment. The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (FSO) was designed to provide a safeguard for students and staff, with the school, university and colleges responsible.
All facilities must have a designated ‘responsible person’ who is legally linked to the FSO and would be the person criminally prosecuted if their duties are not fulfilled to meet the criteria set out to protect students and staff. These responsibilities include a fire risk assessment (undertaken at least once a year – advised), creating a clear fire exit strategy to evacuate the premises quickly and safely in the event of a fire, as to ensure that all fire doors and fire protection equipment is maintained and inspected regularly.
Fire doors are an important part of fire safety in a school, college or university, as it ensures that if a fire does break out it can be contained within one area of the building. A fire door allows time for people inside to escape safely, and for the fire brigade to tackle the fire. It stops fire and smoke from spreading, causing damage to lungs, the building itself, and potentially killing those trapped inside.
If you are the person responsible for fire safety in an education facility, such as a school, college or university, you must be prepared to adhere to strict fire safety regulations. Understand your responsibilities in full and put together a fire safety plan of action that keeps every person safe and limits the potential for fire. On top of that, you must also be fully prepared for a fire to occur, and with it have the detailed plans and responsibilities that allows for fast and safe escape of people within a building that is on fire, and the minimisation of the risk of fire destroying a building and potentially injuring or killing those people still inside.