Reasonable adjustments and fire safety in education

According to the Equality Act 2010, schools and educational premises have a duty to make reasonable adjustments where necessary for anyone with a disability. So, what is a reasonable adjustment? And, what can schools and universities do to improve access for all and meet fire safety requirements in education?

What is a reasonable adjustment?

The Equality Act 2010 tackles disability discrimination in schools and other organisations or businesses across society. It sets out a responsibility to remove barriers experienced by someone who has a disability. Anyone who has a disability should be able to receive the same service as far as possible as someone who is not disabled. What is considered a ‘reasonable’ adjustment will depend on things like the size of the organisation, and the money and resources available. It will also depend on the needs of the individuals who attend the setting.

Reasonable adjustments and fire safety in education

According to current fire safety regulations, it is the duty of the Responsible Person for the building to provide a fire safety risk assessment that considers the needs of all of its users. It should contain an emergency evacuation plan for all people likely to be on the educational premises. This includes anyone who is disabled or has additional needs. The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) also supports these regulations.

Evacuation chairs are a reasonable adjustment
An EVAC+CHAIR can be used to safely evacuate anyone with a permanent or temporary mobility impairment in an emergency

The adjustments you need to make to meet legal requirements for disability and fire safety will depend on what is set out in your fire risk assessment. It will also depend on the needs of the individuals who attend your school or university.

What examples are there of reasonable adjustments in schools or higher education establishments for fire safety?

A reasonable adjustment can be:

  • A change to the way things are done such as a change to a rule or policy. For example, this might involve a change to an escape route.
  • A change to a physical or architectural feature in a building or outside areas. This could include using a fire door retainer on internal fire doors to allow easier access for all or installing visual fire alarm beacons with louder audible sirens for anyone who has a hearing impairment.
  • Provision of extra services or aids. This could include providing an evacuation aid such as an evacuation chair.

The type of changes and extra aids or services will depend entirely on your circumstances and the needs of the individuals who attend your school or university. Fire safety requirements will be set out in detail in your fire risk assessment and should be implemented.

Fire door retainers and the Equality Act 2010

Fire door retainers such as Dorgard are a cost-effective and easy to install solution for improving access for all in schools and universities. Fire doors are a necessity in many buildings but can be a barrier to anyone with a mobility impairment as they are heavy to operate and difficult to manoeuvre in a wheelchair.

fire doors in education
Fire door retainers can improve access for anyone with a mobility impairment

Dorgard is certified and tested to British Standards EN1155:1997 and EN 1634. It is a legal solution for holding open fire doors. This allows easier access for everyone including any disabled users with a mobility impairment. When the fire alarm sounds in your building, Dorgard will release the fire door so that it closes and provides the usual protection. You should never wedge or prop open fire doors using an uncertified device or object. The fire doors will be unable to provide any protection if they are open when a fire starts.

Fire door retainers can be a reasonable adjustment
Dorgard Fire Door Retainers are widely used in education

The University of London’s College Hall has found Dorgard to be an effective solution to accessibility in their building.

“The Dorgard offers a low energy automatic door solution that proved to be the most cost-effective way of improving access and independence for wheelchair users.”

University of London’s College Hall

Mel Saunders

Marketing Designer

Mel joined our team at the start of 2020. She creates our marketing materials and manages our social media accounts.

Fire safety in schools

school-fire-safetyWe have created a helpful guide for school leaders and staff with fire safety responsibility in schools to condense the confusing legislation and recommendations that exist and have turned them into an easy to understand fire safety guide for schools. The article, created by a very experienced fire risk assessor with many years of experience in inspecting schools, addresses:

  • Current situation with regards to arson in schools
  • General fire precautions in schools
  • New school buildings and fire safety
  • What to do should your school experience a fire
  • Examples of typical fire safety violations in schools

Being the fire safety provider of choice both for the Church of England and the Catholic Church, one of Safelincs’ key roles is to supply fire safety goods and services to the thousands of faith schools, amongst others, in the UK. Providing guidance and support is just part of this. We offer schools many opportunities to save costs and to improve fire safety provision at the same time. To benefit from this support offer, contact support@safelincs.co.uk or ring 0800 612 6537. We are happy to help.

We also offer fire risk assessments for schools at very good rates. In addition we provide free fire risk assessment forms as well as free online fire safety logbooks with automatic reminders, suitable for organisations with multiple sites and numerous responsible staff members.

If you would like to talk to us about the fire safety needs within your school call 0800 612 6537.

Safelincs supports local Grammar School

Nothing is better than first hand experience when it comes to inspiring young minds to envision their future in a field of business. With this in mind, Safelincs MD, Harry Dewick-Eisele did a presentation to year 10 Business Studies at our local Grammar School. The topic was e-commerce – ‘Benefits and Drawbacks’.

Safelincs see these interactions as an important part of supporting the local community but also as part of the solution to the lack of specialist web design and web development  skills needed for our industry.

Following a similar presentation a few weeks ago, one of the students on the IT Diploma course at the same Grammar school started a longer term placement with Safelincs. He will design an entire website aimed at building a brand for a new range of fire extinguishers introduced by Safelincs. These fire extinguishers will be Ultrafire branded and will come in two distinctive lines (Ultrafire blackline and Ultrafire redline).