Fire Risk Assessments for Schools
The end of summer also brings with it the return of school for millions of young people up and down the country. With such a high concentration of people in an enclosed space, it is of the utmost importance that schools ensure that they have had full and up-to-date fire risk assessments to guarantee complete safety in the education sphere.
In this month’s article, we’ll be breaking down the kinds of things an assessment will look at and what may cause a need for reassessment. However, it is paramount that you have a certified body carry out an assessment as soon as possible if you haven’t done so already for the start of the new academic year, particularly if your educational premises has seen renovations over the summer break.
What is a fire risk assessment?
A fire risk assessment is a close evaluation of a building and the activities carried out in it, and the subsequent assessment of the likelihood that a fire will break out on the premises, causing harm to both individuals and property. The aims of the assessment involve:
- Identifying any potential fire hazards
- Working to reduce the risk of those hazards causing anybody or anything any harm
- And deciding on and implementing various fire precautions and management arrangements to ensure everyone on the premises will be safe in the event of fire
A fire risk assessment is carried out in a practical and systematic way to ensure that all of the potential hazards and risks of the property and the activities have been identified, rectified or suitable plans have been drawn up to deal with prevention and evacuation.
Why is it important to have a regular assessment?
In time, aspects of a property are likely to change, as are the activities that are carried out on it. Therefore, it is necessary to have a regular fire risk assessment carried out, particularly in a place of education, to identify any new risks. Also, the fire safety equipment on the premises will need regular maintenance to ensure that they will perform in the event of a fire. What’s more, you have a legal obligation to make sure that your premises have been properly assessed for fire risks.
What may cause a need for reassessment?
There are a number of things that may act as a call to have your school reassessed. Such things include, but are not limited to:
- Changes to work activities or how they are organised, such as following the introduction of new equipment like computers;
- Alterations to how you use a part of the premises, like the activities held in the school hall;
- Alterations and renovations to the building, externally and internally;
- Any fluctuations or introductions of the storage of hazardous substances, such as in science classrooms;
- Any failure in the fire precaution systems like smoke alarms or ventilation systems;
- A large change in the number of people on site;
- The presence of people with disabilities, who may be more vulnerable in the event of a fire;
- Or substantial alterations to furniture and fixings on the premises.
If any of these things have changed over the summer period, you will need to have a fresh fire risk assessment carried out to ensure that the educational premises are safe for the new academic year and the influx of pupils once more. Even if such things haven’t changed, if the premises hasn’t had a fire risk assessment for some time, there could have arisen new hazards that may have gone unnoticed; only an experienced and certified fire safety expert can be relied upon to guarantee that the school premises are fire safe, and that’s where Cheshire Fire can help.
Cheshire Fire provide a range of fire safety services including fire alarm installations, fire safety training and free site surveys across the Cheshire area. For a specialised and detailed fire risk assessment of your educational premises, contact our friendly team today.