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Back to School Fire Drills and Student Safety

Most, if not all schools these days are equipped with serviced fire safety systems in place in case of an emergency. If it’s a new school, it was built in as part of the code requirements. But for some old schools, the fire safety systems may need attention, or may be regularly maintained and serviced. If you’re concerned, contact your school and school district to be informed about their fire safety equipment and policy.

Fire alarms, sprinkler systems and other fire protection equipment are key to protecting property and life on a school campus. Along with the fire and life safety equipment, knowing what to do should an emergency situation arise and call for an evacuation is critical, as is the time it takes to step into action. The best way to prepare for a situation is through education and practice, which is why most schools perform fire drills regularly throughout the school year.

Did you know, from 2007-2011 fire departments in the United States responded to roughly 5,600 structure fires on educational properties causing $92 million in property damage?

For educational institutions, performing a fire drill in a timely and orderly fashion with hundreds of students can be an art. There are many tips to take into account as an administrator and as a student when confronted with a fire drill and in turn, a potentially real emergency.

  • Inspect all exits to ensure they are properly operating and there is a clear path to the exit without obstructions.
  • Make sure everyone from students to faculty can recognize the fire alarm and know how to react if it is sounded. In a life safety system, the primary function of a fire detection and alarm system is to notify and prompt timely and orderly evacuation of personnel.
  • Be sure the campus fire alarm system, sprinkler systems and other emergency safety equipment is up to code, inspected, and properly maintained throughout the entire year. In the winter months, this may also include winterization of equipment to ensure proper use if the time comes.
  • Be sure faculty is aware of the locations for alarm pull stations and spinklers.
  • Identifying students with specific needs should be assigned a buddy or member of the faculty to help if needed.
  • Create a buddy system to help ensure everyone is accounted for as well as taking attendance once convened in a safe location.
  • Create fire drills at both expected and unexpected times so that students practice and will get into the habit of making good, life saving decisions should a real emergency occur.

From the principal to the newest student, everyone is responsible to making sure they know how to react should a fire emergency arise on a school campus. Each person plays an integral role in helping each other safely evacuate from a situation and provide knowledge and safe passage for an evacuation.

For more information about fire and life safety systems and tips, check out the blog!

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