Fire Safety in Schools - Everything You Need to Know
Posted on 30th January 2024
Much like any other workplace, schools, nurseries and other educational establishments, need to comply with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
Here is your comprehensive guide to fire safety in schools.
What do You Need to Know About Fire Safety in Schools?
Who is the Responsible Person in Schools?
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 requires a ‘Responsible Person’ to be assigned. This individual oversees and is accountable for all fire safety measures in schools.
In commercial buildings or HMOs the responsible person is the building owner, employer or any other person with control of the premises. In schools, however, this is the responsibility of the headteacher or governing body.
What are the Duties of the ‘Responsible Person’?
According to the Regulatory Reform the duties of the responsible person in schools include:
Ensuring fire risk assessments are carried out at the school premises and reviewed regularly;
Make sure there are set out procedures in the event of a fire;
Ensure fire detection equipment is maintained in functional condition;
Maintain all active passive fire protection in the school premises;
Maintain all passive fire protection at the school premises;
Ensure both pupils and staff are aware of the emergency evacuation process.
Conducting Fire Risk Assessments in Schools
Under the regulations, it is the Responsible Person’s duty to carry out and review fire risk assessments or appoint another competent individual for the task.
The purpose of a Fire Risk Assessment is to identify potential fire hazards and determine what measures need to be taken to prevent a fire from starting. It also identifies who is most at risk in the event of a fire.
From October 1 2023, the latest amendments under the Building Safety Act 2022 requires all significant findings of a FRA to be documented and a record should be kept.
Fire risk assessments in schools also need to take into account all occupants. You may need to take special consideration for anyone with SEND or other disabilities and other visitors onsite.
What Fire Protection Measures are Required in Schools?
Once you have identified the fire hazards and risk areas, you need to take appropriate action to reduce the risk of fire. This includes installing active fire protection and fire detection precautions such as fire alarms. You must also establish and maintain a managed evacuation plan during a fire.
The UK Government’s guidelines recommend that you carry out fire drills at least once a year. In addition, fire safety signage should be up to date and any changes to the escape routes should be communicated to all staff members.
Passive Fire Protection in Schools
Passive fire measures in schools include fire compartmentation and fire doors. These are designed to delay the spread of fire and smoke throughout the building, preventing it from collapsing and allowing time for evacuation.
High-risk areas such as school kitchens and server rooms, require special attention and longer fire resistance. Standard fire doors are also required in corridors for keeping escape routes clear.
All passive fire protection elements within the school premises must be regularly surveyed and maintained.
Fire Doors in Schools
All fire doors within the school building must be properly maintained to prevent the spread of fire. Regular fire door inspections should be carried out to find any problems and ensure all fire doors remain functional in the event of an emergency.
You need to repair issues such as missing intumescent seals and damage to the door itself or the frame in a timely manner to maintain the door’s fire rating.
An accredited, trained and experienced person should fit any fire doors, ensuring the use of correct hardware and maintaining gap sizes around the door within the allowed requirements. Along with inspecting your existing fire doors, here at GRJ we also offer a BM Trada accredited fire door supply and installation service.
What are the Fire Safety Regulations for Schools Undergoing Construction?
If your school is undergoing expansion that involves the construction of new buildings, all the work carried out must comply with the building regulations enforced by local bodies. As part of this it’s important to understand and reference the Building Bulletin 100. This document outlines the design requirements regarding fire safety in new school buildings.
These regulations apply to nursery schools, primary and secondary schools, academies, free schools, special schools and pupil referral units.
Ensure Your School Meets the Fire Safety Regulations with GRJ
If you need the help of professional, accredited surveyors for maintaining fire safety in your school building, GRJ Surveying is here to help.
Our team can inspect the passive fire protection of your school building including compartmentation and fire doors. During our survey we’ll highlight any issues needing to be addressed urgently. Based on our findings, we will produce a detailed report for your reference with recommended action points. To ensure your school building remains safe, we can also take care of the required remedial work.
Don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team to enquire about our services. We’re always happy to help!
Contact Our Team
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