Fire drills in schools

As part of the annual health and safety audit that schools have to complete the subject of fire safety will arise. Questions about the maintenance of fire extinguishers and smoke alarms as well as other equipment will need to be assessed. Are the annual checks up to date and are regular visual checks carried out throughout the year?  Along side this the procedure for fire drills will also be reviewed.

Most schools are very good at carrying out fire drills on a regular basis but do the drills go far enough to be useful to highlight any difficulties that may occur in the event of a real fire? The usual procedure for a fire drill is to set off the alarm system and evacuate the children out of the building as quickly as possible. This is good practice and familiarises both pupils and staff with the routine but where is the fire situated from which they are evacuating?

These common fire drills do not take into account that one or more exits may be blocked in the event of a real fire and that an alternative route may need to be used. Teachers who have always used the same exit door in a drill may panic if this exit is blocked by a real fire and may not be able to lead the pupils to safety.  It is essential that different exits are blocked in a drill to ensure that it is second nature for the teachers and pupils to use an alternative route.

A fire drill where an exit is blocked may highlight that in actual fact there is only one escape route and that a window may then need to be utilised as exit point. If the window is double glazed and does not open fully it may be necessary to have an emergency escape hammer fitted near the window. If the room is not on the ground floor there may be a need to install an external fire escape ladder.

Increase the scope of your next fire drill and simulate a fire blocking an exit point. It can be as simple as someone standing at the exit door waving their arms saying “this exit is blocked by fire”.

 

 

20th – 26th June 2011, Child Safety Week

This Year’s Child Safety Week is looking at preventing accidents, with its ‘Take a second look for safety’ campaign. The Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT) are encouraging everyone with children or looking after children to take a second look at their environment to ensure that the children are safe.

Accidents can, to a great extent, be prevented but despite this, accidents remain one of the biggest causes of death in children in the UK.

It does not take long to take a second look around the house to see if there are any measures that can be put into place to prevent a child having an accident. This can range from ensuring that stair gates are closed to securing the garden and can also include checking that all smoke alarms are in good working order.

Many people lead busy lives and without being reminded of these small things we would forget. If you need help with remembering to check that your smoke alarm is working or when you should change the battery in the alarm, you can register with our free smoke alarm reminder service. We will then send you a text or e-mail to alert you that the check is due. You control what check you would like to be reminded about and how often we should remind you. There is no  charge for this service, but it could save your life.

‘Take a second look’ and check that you know how you would get out of the building in case of a fire. Is there a second escape route should the main exit be blocked by fire. Check if you are able to exit through an upstairs window should the stairs be involved in the fire, do you need a fire escape ladder to aid your exit? Ensure that your children know what they should do if they wake to smell smoke or see flames. Go through these points with them and even practice the escape routine.

‘Take a second look’ to see if there are any hazards that you could reduce to prevent a fire from happening in the first place. Check your plug sockets and ensure that they are not overloaded. Are all cables to electrical equipment in good working order. Make sure that tea-towels do not hang too close to the cooker or that pans are never left to boil dry.

Make all your ‘Take a second look for safety’ activities fun and include the children. We have developed a fire safety information and activity sheet for you to down load.

Have fun with your children looking for dangers and then talking about how to prevent accidents from happening. Get your children to tell you if they see something that they think is dangerous. Children are looking at the world from a different height perspective and they may see something that an adult would miss.

We want to help you keep your children safe. If you purchase any fire safety goods or a carbon monoxide alarm from us we will give you 10% off your order during Child Safety Week.

To claim your discount, visit our website and quote CSWB at checkout to receive 10% off your order.

Development Status of new Cavity Fire Escape Ladder

Following the granting of the design rights earlier in the year, Safelincs has now moved to the pre-production tooling stage for the new Safelincs Cavity Fire Escape Ladder, which is designed to fit in the inner leaf of newbuild homes. The ladder and all its elements are completely hidden from view and can be deployed in less time than traditional portable fire escape ladders. The next step is to go through the necessary safety certification as required for the building industry. One building company has already agreed to install these ladders in a number of their homes for final field trials.