Almost 5,000 times a year a fire will occur in an educational facility resulting in approximately 90,000 pupils having their learning disrupted due to fire damage to classrooms and school property. Every school, college and university wants their students to get the best education possible, they also want to keep their staff, students and visitors safe. Having the correct fire alarm system is important in avoiding injuries, death and damage from a fire, catching the fire early keeps everyone on your premise safer. That is why we have created the top 3 things to consider when choosing a fire alarm system to make sure you are fully informed when making this very important, life-saving decision.
1. Government guidance
Following government guidelines is important when looking at fire safety in any place of work, but it is especially important when looking at a place where there will be vulnerable people. By keeping to the guidelines that the government has set you can be assured that all of your pupils, staff members, visitors and property are properly protected in the event of a fire.There is a slight difference in regulations for new buildings and existing buildings, so you should take this into consideration when looking at fire safety.
When looking at fire safety design in a new school building, you may want to read Building Bulletin 100: a design for fire safety in schools it is the normal means of compliance with building regulations. In existing builds, schools are required to undertake risk assessments to identify the general fire precautions needed to safeguard the safety of occupants in case of fire, including their safe means of escape. By creating a risk assessment alongside government guidelines you will be able to highlight the key features your premises needs from a fire alarm system.
It also stressed on the government website that schools will need to ensure procedures are in place to reduce the likelihood of fire, maintain fire detection and alarm systems, and ensure staff and pupils are familiar with emergency evacuation procedures.
To find out more information take a look at the government website: Click Here
2. Have a Fire Risk Assessment and create a Plan!
The first thing to do when looking at fire safety is to complete a fire risk assessment. It will outline the level of cover you need, help you create a plan of action and will tell you what you need a fire alarm system to cover to keep your building, staff and pupils safe. It is important that schools keep their fire risk assessments up to date and that fire precautions remain current and adequate. They should be reviewed in detail when significant alterations are made to a school’s premises, for example, if an extension is built.
1. Identify fire hazards; Sources of ignition, fuel, or oxygen. If any one of these is missing, a fire cannot start. You should put measures in place to avoid the three coming together, this will reduce the chances of a fire occurring.
2. Identify people at risk; people in and around the premises (students, staff, visitors, etc.), people, especially at risk. You should identify who is at risk, and why they are at risk and make a note of your findings.
3. Evaluate, remove, reduce and protect from risk: evaluate the risk of a fire occurring, evaluate the risk to people from fire, remove or reduce fire hazards, and remove or reduce the risks to people. The first step of this is detection and warning, the earlier you know the quicker fire fighting can begin, and people can exit safely through escape routes.
4. Record, plan, inform, instruct and train: This includes things like recording significant findings, creating an emergency plan, informing your staff, students and visitors about what to do in an emergency, and carrying out drills and training exercises.
5. Review: Keep assessment under review Revise where necessary. If you have a suspicion that your risk assessment isn't up to date or that there has been a significant change in your premises you should go back and review it as soon as possible. It is also helpful to keep a log book so you can see when everything was last checked.
Once you know all of this information you will probably have a checklist of what your institution needs from a fire alarm system. This is when you should start looking at different systems and different providers.
3. Choose and install the right fire alarm system for your premises
The best way to choose the correct fire alarm for your educational institution is to take all of your findings and speak to a trained expert. This way you can customise the fire alarm system to your site's specifications. It can allow you to see all the options and allow you to compare features, functionality and price. Different systems have different uses and purposes, depending on their application, which is why getting a professional's opinion is the best way to go as they will make sure all of your bases are covered. Also, getting the fire alarm system installed by a trained expert will guarantee reliable function and it is also vital to undertake regular and periodic maintenance to ensure your alarm stays in perfect working order.
If you would like to find out about the types of fire alarms click here.
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A little something extra to consider
Having the correct fire alarm system is a great start to ensuring you are adhering to safeguarding guidelines and keeping staff and students safe, however, you should also consider CCTV, intruder alarms, access control and security barriers.
Take a look at our security page to find out more or more specifically our Security Solutions for Schools, Colleges and Universities page. You can also find more information on our blog page by looking under the section security or to learn more about we can offer your educational facility take a look at our Education page.
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