A fire breaking out in a school, college or university can result in many delays and issues, not least to the continued learning of the pupils.
When the sources of ignition in an education facility are measured, from kitchens to laboratories and any electrical items used, the risk of fire can be considerable. Even the threat of arson and accidental fire starting should be thought about when conducting fire safety checks.
FIRE EQUIPMENT IN SCHOOLS
Fire extinguishers, alarms and fire doors are all required pieces of fire safety equipment in a school, under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. Building owners or the Responsible Person have obligations to ensure these items are in good working order and serviced regularly by a reputable provider, such as Churches Fire & Security.
Whereas these everyday pieces of equipment are compulsory, the case for sprinkler systems is ongoing, as noted by the BBC. Figures show that just 15% of new schools built up to February 2019 had sprinkler systems installed.
THE CASE FOR SPRINKLER SYSTEMS
Following the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire in June 2017, questions surrounding quality fire safety provisions across all industries are being asked.
Whilst The National Fire Chiefs Council has pressed the government to include sprinkler systems in new education buildings, and those being renovated, as of March 2020, there is no policy in England to enforce this (mandatory policy in force in Scotland and Wales).
The financial impact of a fire in a school extends not just to the rebuilding costs, but also in the disruption of students learning and teachers’ employment. Course work and study materials can be lost, resulting in students being behind in their studies and teachers and supporting staff could be without proper facilities.
As a widespread fire suppression structure, sprinkler systems protect lives and properties. As well as dousing fire, they can be set-up to sound the installed fire alarm and alert the fire brigade.
HOW FIRE SPRINKLERS WORK
Well-maintained fire sprinkler systems are designed to work autonomously, quickly detecting a specific temperature and drenching any fire to minimise spreading.
Contrary to what we see in films and television shows, one sprinkler head being activated does not result in all other heads releasing water as well. The chances of an unintentional discharge are also slim, in the region of 16 million to one, according to BAFSA.
When a certain temperature is reached in an area protected by sprinklers, either a glass bulb will shatter or a solder fusible link will melt. This triggers the system to release water to the specific sprinkler head, dousing the fire and limiting damage and spread.
To discuss sprinkler system design and installation for your school, or other business premises, contact the Churches Fire & Security experts today.Contact us