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School Fire Regulations Explained

Fire safety is undeniably the number one most important consideration for a school. Over the years, government and regulatory bodies have been working to create legislation that keeps schools as safe as possible from fires. Two of the most important publications involve the ‘Building Bulletin 100: design for fire safety in schools’ and the ‘Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRO)’. The former concerns how fire precautions should be implemented in new building works, whereas the latter focuses on the steps headteachers and other educational authorities must take in order to ensure their school is safe post-build.

This article is going to explore fire safety regulations, both for new buildings and existing buildings, highlighting who the regulations apply to, what they are and why they’re important.

Who do the regulations apply to?

These regulations apply to all educational establishments. This includes:

  • Nursery schools
  • Primary schools
  • Secondary schools
  • Academies
  • Free schools
  • Special schools
  • Pupil referral units

New buildings

New school building works must conform to ‘Building Bulletin 100: design for safety in schools’. This guide provides all the safety elements that must be included when performing building works on a school. There are an array of subjects covered within this guide, including:

  • Detailed design guidance
  • Arson deterrence
  • Escape requirements
  • Fire door regulations
  • Means of warning and escape
  • Compartmentation
  • Accessibility
  • And much more

This guide contains the universal rules for creating any structure on school site. These rules have been developed over many years in order to ensure the safeguarding of both students and staff.

Existing buildings

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 details the necessary procedures schools are required to undertake in order to ensure maximum safety. These include:

  • Risk assessments – schools must perform thorough assessments of their establishment to identify any fire risks and hazards. Risk assessments will be discussed in more detail in the next section.
  • Training must be provided to both students and staff so that they are aware of how to act and where to evacuate to in the event of a fire.
  • Schools must ensure fire detection and alarm systems are functional and up to date.
  • Fire precautions must remain current and adequate.

Risk assessment and fire doors

Risk assessments are vital; not only do they identify fire hazards in schools, but the risk assessment will then be used to enact a plan for defending against these hazards. Fire risk assessments should investigate the following:

  • The type of doors used and whether fire doors may be needed.
  • Any equipment, such as bunsen burners for example,that could pose a fire hazard.
  • Any damage that might pose a safety risk, such as faulty wiring or open sockets.
  • Signage for clear, unimpeded instructions to exits and evacuation points.

Once risks have been identified, the fire risk assessment can be used as a foundation for improving the safety of the school. One of the ways to do this is to install quality fire doors.

It is vitally important a school invests in properly installed and rated fire doors. Fire safety doors not only provide an easy exit route away from a fire, but they are also designed to reduce the speed at which a fire spreads. For these doors to be effective, they must be sealed all the way around. As part of the risk assessment, fire safety doors should be thoroughly checked for any gaps, and hinges and seals should be monitored for any damage.

Here at Fire Action, we provide a comprehensive range of fire safety products and services that ensures your business complies with all the legal regulations. In addition to a range of fire extinguishers, alarms and signage, we also offer fire safety training and risk assessments. Our team of experts will provide a thorough assessment of your establishment to identify any and all issues, helping you to keep your building, staff and any other occupants away from harm. To enquire further, give our friendly team a call today.

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