Schools – Stay Fire Aware This Christmas

26 November 2013

Fire safety within school environments is something that needs to be carefully assessed during the festive period. Of course, this should be at the forefront of our minds all year round, but additional festivities can create extra fire hazards that many are unaware of.

A good fire risk assessment will cover all areas and take all hazards into account – remember, it’s a good idea to get your fire risk assessment updated regularly, and now might be the ideal time to do so. Let’s keep things safe this Christmas and prevent any potential disasters from happening.

Here’s a reminder of the main things to be aware of:

Decorations

Corridors, classrooms and halls are bound to be given the Christmas treatment. Think Christmas trees, tinsel, baubles, the list is endless, but nothing should compromise fire exits and escape routes. Keep everything well out of the way in case children and staff need to make a quick exit.

In addition to this, all decorations should be kept clear from electrical equipment and heat sources. Paper decorations especially, hand crafted by the children themselves can be a particular flammable hazard, so where to hang them should be carefully considered.

Christmas Trees

Christmas trees themselves can in fact create several hazards that everyone should be aware of. Fairy lights and wiring should be checked prior to being placed on the tree (or anywhere else for that matter). Short circuited lights can blow sockets and small sparks can begin devastating fires. If your lights are old, consider replacing them and remember to let the adults do this job. Always switch fairy lights off at the end of the day – leaving them on for decorative effect is never a good idea if they are unattended for long periods of time so don’t let this compromise your safety.

Real Christmas trees should be completely fresh with a resin coated trunk to reduce fire risks, and artificial trees should of course be flame retardant and kept clear from electricals and anything that could cause it to overheat.

Tall Christmas trees are often popular focal points within main school areas, but they should be kept a clear distance from any sky lighting that could again cause the tree to potentially overheat.

When you are finished with your tree, dispose of it professionally and quickly.

Fire Equipment and Procedures

Remember to regularly check all fire related equipment. Extinguishers should be in working order and regularly maintained, and fire alarm systems should be checked at least once a week, with fire drills being carried out every few months. All children and staff should know exactly what to do and where to go in the event of a fire with comprehensive evacuation plans in place.

School Productions

The annual Christmas production sees assembly halls full of adoring parents, and will most likely be housing more people than usual. It is vital that the stated seated and standing capacity of the room is not exceeded and again, exit routes should not be blocked in any way. The audience should be made aware of fire exits prior to the performance.

For BAFE approved fire risk assessments, contact us here at Total Fire Services. We’ll thoroughly assess your school in terms of fire hazards and equipment to give you complete peace of mind.

Whatever your property or place of work, stay aware all year round and be extra cautious during the Christmas period. Don’t let carelessness get in the way of an enjoyable festive time, causing disastrous consequences.

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