IFSEC Global have reported that “according to new research from insurer, Zurich Municipal, schools in England are “nearly twice as likely” to suffer from a fire as other types of commercial buildings.”
The data, from 28,800 schools in England alone, noted reasons including poor fire detection and the regular presence of cooking equipment. The article adds that “these issues have resulted in nearly 2,000 school blazes in the last three years.” The article continues to discuss the benefit of sprinkler systems in place, but BAFE strongly believe that other life safety systems should not be ignored or thought of as lesser importance to sprinkler systems.
This news comes out as more Fire and Rescue Services begin to review response measures in place for Automatic Fire Alarm activation (AFA). Cleveland Fire Brigade (CFB) for example have, from the 1st September, in fact stopped automatic dispatch for schools and a range of “low or medium risk” buildings - meaning a 999 call will have to be made to confirm a fire prior to any attendance.
Fire detection and alarm systems, emergency lighting, kitchen fire suppression and fire extinguishers should all be regularly maintained to ensure risk is mitigated as best as possible. This also coincides with BAFE COVID-19 guidance that Fire Risk Assessments should now also recognise any changes made to accommodate COVID-19 safety measures.
Stephen Adams, Chief Executive – BAFE, commented “we absolutely cannot allow fire to disrupt schools at this time with students finally returning from the long interruption due to coronavirus. I cannot stress enough the importance of using Third Party Certificated providers to deliver these specific fire safety services to competently help meet your obligations.”
IFSEC Global: Petition launched as research finds risk of fire at schools double that of other buildings https://www.ifsecglobal.com/fire-news/petition-launched-as-research-finds-risk-of-fire-at-schools-double-that-of-other-buildings/
Cleveland Fire Brigade (CFB): Unwanted Fire Signals Letter - August 2020 https://www.clevelandfire.gov.uk/unwanted-fire-signals-letter-august-2020/