Your School’s Half-Term Checks

With the February half-term right around the corner, you’ll probably be preparing to carry out some essential checks while your premises is either unoccupied or has a reduced occupancy. Your fire safety checks should be top of your to-do list – especially your Fire Risk Assessment.

Updating your Fire Risk Assessment is a legal requirement so you can prove that your education setting is safe and complies with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. That includes, of course, checking fire extinguishers, fire alarms, emergency lighting, fire safety documents and staff training.

In 2018-2019, there were 582 reported school fires in the UK and 82% of them were accidental  –  meaning the majority could have been avoided if the schools’ fire safety measures were up to scratch.

To make sure your education setting is safe and ready to reopen its doors in a few weeks’ time, we’ve outlined the key checks your competent person needs to carry out during your half-term Fire Risk Assessment.

First, there are three key areas that act as the overarching umbrella in your Fire Risk Assessment:

 

AreaProcedure
Fire detection and warningDo you have updated arrangements in place to detect a fire? Will these arrangements provide sufficient early warning? Can everyone easily recognise your evacuation warning signals?
Means of escapeDo all your escape routes lead to a place of safety? Are all your fire safety and exit signs clear and easy to understand? Are your escape routes spacious enough for the number and type of people using them e.g., wheelchair users, expectant employees, etc.? Will any students or employees require extra assistance in the event of an evacuation?
Provision of fire-fighting equipmentAre your portable fire extinguishers and fire blankets stored in a suitable place? Have a reasonable number of employees been recently trained on how to use your fire-fighting equipment? Is your fire-fighting equipment free from damage?
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Next Steps

The next step is checking fire safety records, emergency plans and training, where your competent person should consider:

      • Who’ll liaise with the emergency services
      • If there are designated fire assembly points and if they’re a safe distance from the premises
      • If enough people are trained and nominated to carry out a roll call in the event of an evacuation
      • And if your records are all updated to reflect the above.

Once your competent person has established these points, it’s time for them to check if your Fire Risk Assessment is still sufficient and applies to your current premises.

Fire Risk Assessments are living documents and should be reviewed either annually or if there’s been a change of occupancy – like when you welcome students back after half-term. Other occasions when you should update your Fire Risk Assessment include:

      • Enforcing authorities or your responsible person recommends you do so
      • A serious fire incident – including arson and vandalism
      • There’s been a change of working practices or use of premises
      • A change in the type or number of people working within your premises
      • A change in work shift patterns
      • Structural alteration
      • A change in the quantity and type of stored combustible/flammable materials
      • New work equipment or processes are introduced
      • There’s a change in the neighbouring premises and/or their activities that might affect the assessed hazards or risks
      • Last but not least, any other significant or material change to the previous assessment details.

 

How Citation Fire & Electrical can help

We live and breathe Fire Risk Assessments and, as a BAFE registered compliance provider, we’re more than happy to support your education setting with its fire safety measures. One of our assessors will visit your setting to conduct a full Fire Risk Assessment, provide you with an overall risk rating, and advise you on how to manage your premises going forward so it remains legally compliant, and your students and staff stay safe.

But it doesn’t stop there! We also offer ongoing checks on all your fire safety equipment – like extinguishers, alarms and emergency lighting – so you have peace of mind that you’re fully protected and compliant.

We pride ourselves on upholding rigorous standards and our processes are continuously audited to make sure that you receive the same quality service every time. To book a Fire Risk Assessment or for free advice before you reopen your doors after the half-term, contact our service team here.