Fire can cause large scale damage to any premises within a small time. This makes it critical for schools and other academic environments where there are combustible materials, fire hazards, and a lot of vulnerable kids who don’t know what to do in the event of a fire to carry out regular fire drills. This is surely going to make the evacuation process very difficult.
To ensure the safety of students during a fire emergency, it is critical for schools to establish a simple, step-by-step evacuation plan that explains to every student, even little kids what to do during a fire. Also, these drills must be carried out regularly. Of course, doing this may be difficult especially for large schools with hundreds of students, but it will go a long way in helping you become familiar with everyone in the school. Even more, it will help you see if your fire evacuation plan is effective.
In this article, we are going to be looking at what safety drills entail and why they are important and should be taken seriously. Implementing the tips that will be discussed in this article we go a long way in helping you refine your evacuation plan and ensure that everyone in your school is ready for a fire emergency.
Fire safety drills – why is it important?
Every school, regardless of its size, needs to carry out fire drills on a regular basis, as it will help students and teachers know what to do and not to do during a fire. It will also help them fully grasp the escape routes of the school building and the instructions they must follow that will ensure that everyone gets out quickly.
Fire drills can help little kids who are still maturing understand what fire safety is all about and what they should do when there is a fire. This can also help reduce disorderly behavior, confusion, and panic. It will also help teachers to be conversant with their roles during an emergency situation.
As you probably know, it is the responsibility of the school director and staff to help students evacuate to safety during a fire, so it is of critical importance that they know what steps to take. So, if they can practice keeping their cool and remaining organized and calm during a fire drill, chances are they will be able to ensure the safety of students when there is a real fire.
Fire safety drills in schools are of critical importance as it helps do the following –
- Access how quickly students and teachers can evacuate from the school premises.
- Test emergency evacuation plans.
- Remind students of the location of emergency routes and assembly points.
- To remind students of the sound of fire alarms
- To identify areas where signs of a fire may not be clear to people
- To ensure that all exits and emergency routes are free from obstructions of any kind
- Creates a window for firemen or wardens to practice their duties
And above all, fire safety is the law. As required by the UK Regulatory Reform Order (2005) and the Education Regulations, all schools are required to have an evacuation plan and preventive measures in place. Also, they must provide everyone with clear instructions, information, and training linked to fire safety. Regular fire drills are an important part of fulfilling this requirement, as it is impractical and unrealistic to say to the least, to expect students, especially little kids to know what to do without training and regular practice.
Requirements for fire safety drills in schools
Fire drills are only effective if they are well planned and done frequently. Since fire drills are so important, it is critical that everyone knows what they involve. This goes more than just telling kids what to do in the event of a fire, teachers have to practice with students. Also, they have to help students understand why fire drills are important.
Perfect time to carry out fire drills in schools
There is no right time to carry out fire drills. As a school director, you have the freedom to carry it out anytime during school hours. To help kids become better prepared for the unexpected, you have to run each drill at a different time of the day. It is best; you do it during lunchtime or during an assembly rather than during class.
Testing your evacuation plan under different circumstances may reveal the flaws in your plan that you may have been overlooking.
How often should fire drills be carried out?
All organizations regardless of their size are required to carry out fire drills at least ones a year. However, due to the fire hazards in schools and a few other factors, the National Union of Teachers and the National Education Union recommends that fire drills should be carried out in schools at least once a term. They also recommend that school drills be done at the beginning of each school year to benefit new students and staff.
Important things you must consider during school fire drills
To get the most out of a fire drill, it is important that you meticulously evaluate every steps of the evacuation process. Doing this will go a long way in helping you identify any lapses or issues and take steps to correct them so that the procedure remains effective.
Below are a couple of things you can do during a fire drill in your school. –
- Randomly pick any teacher or staff to set off the nearest fire alarm without being shown the one that is closest. Doing this will tests their knowledge of the location of the various fire alarms in the school and how to activate them.
- Ask certain a teacher or staff to observe while others take part in the drill
- Carry out some drills under the assumption that multiple escape routes have been compromised.
It is also important that every teacher or staff have a specific fire safety responsibility. These duties should revolve around getting students out of the building as quickly as possible especially students with special needs or those who may have difficulty evacuating. Fire drills provide a valuable opportunity for teachers to test these duties and reduce the room for confusion and uncertainty.
Below are some steps to test everyone’s responsibility during a school fire drill.
- Everybody should walk calmly, orderly, and quietly – Regardless of the nature of a fire emergency, students must not run or race to the exits, as they could fall over and knock into each other.
- When the alarm rings – everybody should exit the building as quickly and orderly as possible.
- The role of class teachers – in the event of a fire, teachers should guide students along the nearest evacuation routes to the safe zone. They must do all they can to help everybody stay calm and orderly.
Following the tips discussed in this article will go a long way in helping you get the most out of the process. Even more, it will help you reduce the odds of disarray or confusion during a fire emergency. It is also a good idea to look at some fire training programs to help mitigate risks and make your fire safety plan a success.
If you’re looking for fire drill materials, the National Fire Safety Council has a school drill manuals and a section on the site called 4kids.
If you reached this point, you understand the importance of readiness in case of fire. I strongly suggest you have a look at the homepage for other topics I cover on the site, specifically fire fighting.
Children should be exposed to fire safety at an early age so they learn and practice proper procedures. There are books targeting early ages – Big Frank’s Fire Truck is one.