At the recent Birmingham Bursars’ Group Conference, representatives from West Midlands Fire Service addressed school business managers and reminded them of their responsibilities in relation to fire safety. The fire service also offered advice on how schools can improve fire safety awareness training levels and avoid common mistakes.
A number of key issues and tips were raised during the conference. School managers were advised to:
• Make everyone aware of who the ‘responsible person’ is. Apparently, in many schools not everyone knows who the person responsible for fire safety is, and some teachers and other staff members often try to shirk their responsibilities. If there is confusion over this issue, lives could be put at risk.
• Inform individuals and businesses surrounding school premises right away if a fire breaks out. Schools should have a method of contacting anyone who could be affected by a fire on school premises, especially in schools that are based next to major transport routes.
• Carry out fire safety risk assessments once a year or when anything changes significantly within the building. To keep on top of risk assessments, staff should undergo fire safety training and also carry out a monthly fire audit.