Necessary School Fire Safety Programs
Summer break may not be over for another month or two, but it is never too late to implement fire protection systems and programs in schools. Educational centers can range from day-care centers to college classrooms, but according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), nursery, elementary, middle, junior and high schools annually account for over 4,500 fires in schools — that’s almost 75 percent of all fires in educational buildings!
At State Systems, we are not just a certified protection company located near Memphis. We have been protecting school children and teens in local schools systems throughout the Mid-South for years — in fact, our own children attend the schools we service.
So as parents, we know that a reliable fire protection system is an important facet of a safe school system. But what does a full fire safety program for schools encompass? See how your school system stacks up against necessary fire safety measures recommended for educational facilities.
What makes school fire safety programs so important?
As kids, many of us participated in mandated fire drills — even sometimes rejoicing in them. When we were young, these fire drills meant extra time outside of the classroom, less time spent learning cursive, and fun visits from Sparky the Fire Dog. But the danger of fire hazards in school is a continued concern throughout the country.
In fact, according to a study from the NFPA:
- Most school fires occur during the day, especially around lunchtime
- Half of the fire in schools were intentionally started
- One-third of fires occur in school bathrooms
- Around 10 percent of fires begin in the kitchen or cafeteria
- For pre-schools, around 66 percent of fires occur between 6 a.m. and 3 p.m.
It seems that there may be few truly fire-free places for students within their educational buildings. When we were little, we were all taught to STOP, DROP & ROLL. While this is still a proven method to put out a fire on the body, technology has advanced to a point that, with a professionally installed fire protection system, the spread of fire and physical harm from fires can be almost substantially decreased.
Fire Protection Programs for Schools
Fire Protection Systems
Alarms – Fire alarms are the first response system for alerting students, visitors, and faculty members of a fire or potential emergency. Certified fire protection technicians, like our employees at State Systems, are able to properly test, maintain, and install fire alarm systems throughout an entire school building or campus. Fire safety regulations are set both state-wide and locally — it is important to make sure your school building is up to code and requirements for protecting the students inside.
Sprinklers – Fire sprinkler systems allow for 24-hour protection of educational buildings. Even if a fire starts during a holiday weekend or between semesters, properly inspected sprinklers and fire pumps are able to immediately respond when smoke or fire is detected. It is crucial for a professional fire protection company to test the pumps and piping connecting your fire sprinkler systems annually to ensure that the water pressure, pipe networking, and sprinkler nozzles will all work together effectively and efficiently in diffusing a fire.
Extinguishers – Portable fire extinguishers are an essential fire-fighting tool. Studies of fire incidents have revealed that in 80 percent cases, a fire extinguisher helped to successfully put out a fire – before it got out of control. In many school facilities and campuses, fire extinguishers may be in place but not clearly and consistently marked. As much as a fourth-grade class may love their class pet goldfish Lucy, the classroom’s fire extinguisher does little good if it’s mounted behind Lucy’s tank. As a safety protocol, fire extinguishers should be consistently marked with a sign and mounted three feet above the ground. Teachers, aides, and classroom helpers should also be trained in how to properly use the tank — fifth-grader Johnny may be too small and not calm to be of much help.
Fire Protection Practices
Fire Evacuation Plan – To students, fire drills may seem like a break from the lesson plan, but they are crucial to conduct on a regular basis. Due to large buildings and changing class schedules, students and faculty should know the proper route to the nearest and safest exit from all points in the building. Scheduling fire evacuation plans monthly at different times of the day will provide everyone in the building with the best route to safety in the even that a fire does occur.
Official Procedures – The faculty and administrators should also become extremely familiar with the fire evacuation protocols. Although everything may go smoothly in the monthly fire drills, Mrs. Adams, who normally grabs the teacher roster and checklist, may be out sick the day a fire actually occurs. Will your administration know that every class made it out safely? School officials and faculty should be familiar with the chain of command to decrease commotion and chaos that often occurs during an emergency.
Fire Safety Training – The NFPA, and many local fire departments, offer fire training courses, webinars, conferences, video, and events. Just as an elementary education is the foundation for a child’s future career, knowledge and understanding of fire hazards and fire safety procedures are crucial to being prepared in the case that a fire emergency does occur.
Importance of School Kitchen Fire Suppression Systems
A high number of school fires originate in the kitchen — as most school buildings offer faculty kitchens, student cafeterias, food courts, or dining halls. It is important to integrate kitchen fire suppression systems within the school to minimize risk of fire. Experienced pressure washing technicians recommend regular vent hood cleaning — the combination of high pressure and hot water – to eliminate grease, dirt build-up, and other fire hazards.
Serving Mid-South school systems through Tennessee, Mississippi, and Arkansas, State Systems offers professional vent hood cleaning services, including the standard:
- Cleaning of interior and exterior of kitchen hoods
- Removing grease from hood and exhaust systems
- Replacing and removing filters
- Cleaning all accessible areas of exhaust duct work
- Maintaining exhaust fan for proper ventilation
Education is also important in kitchen fire safety risks and management. The NFPA is hosting Fire Prevention Week nationwide Oct. 6-12, 2013 and will provide numerous resources for school officials, educators, and families to prepare their students and children for a fire emergency.
On the Fire Protection Week website, you can find:
- Kitchen safety checklist
- A lesson plan for teachers
- Instructions and messages from Sparky the Fire Dog
- Fast facts with recent fire statistics
- An entire separate fire safety website for kids to navigate
If you are looking for a full-service fire protection company in the Mid-South, State Systems offers school fire prevention system installation, maintenance, repair, inspection, and training in
- Memphis, Jackson, Dyersburg, Union City, and Martin, Tennessee (TN)
- Jonesboro and Crittenden Co., Arkansas (AR)
- Oxford, Tupelo, Batesville, and Desoto Co., Mississippi (MS)
To find out fire prevention systems for educational buildings, call for a quote or contact State Systems today!
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