Safeguarding: Why do schools face increased liability?

March 8, 2019

Schools face unique fire safety challenges. They must provide a safe learning environment for children and young people, so, while safe evacuation must be achieved in the event of a fire, pupils must at other times remain safely on the premises, while outsiders and potential intruders are kept out.

The risks associated with any school evacuation may be heightened by a variety of factors:

  • Some pupils’ mobility may be impacted by a wide range of physical disabilities
  • Pupils’ mental maturity will cover a broad spectrum and there may be individuals who require extra support
  • Schools are often designed and built to minimise costs while providing an adequate level of fire safety for occupants. Fire compartmentalisation within the building may be minimal, accelerating the spread of fire and smoke should a fire start
  • There may be increased risk of fire in areas such as science laboratories, workshops, kitchens, and cooking facilities
  • There may be flammable risks in lockers, cloakrooms and stores

As a result, fire drill practices in schools are absolutely essential. Teachers must understand the procedures, and children must learn to walk silently from the building to the predetermined place of safety. Fire drills also allow staff to ensure that life safety equipment is working properly.

Most schools are good at training their pupils and staff on how to behave during a fire drill, however this is down to education and practice.

According to the NUT’s advice on the requirements of the fire legislation covering schools and on fire safety precautions to be followed in schools, breaches of fire safety regulations can have significant implications. Historically a state school was fined £8,000 for a breach of just three fire safety regulations and an independent school was fined £50,000 for the breach of 15 fire safety regulations.

Thankfully, it seems that breaches of the regulations by schools are becoming increasingly rare, it is essential they do not relax their vigilance. Staff and administrators are all busy in their jobs, though, and remembering fire safety and finding time in hectic schedules to address it can be challenging.

Fire Safety Regulations state that those responsible for a site have a legal obligation for fire safety within the premises, for all occupants, whether they be staff, pupils, or visitors.

A fundamental aspect of fire safety is the building’s fire risk assessment. The fire risk assessment will call for records to be up to date and available for inspection, for all fire safety related matters. This record is known as the Fire Safety Log Book.

Completing the Fire Safety Log Book highlights and addresses fire safety issues enabling their rectification. It is essential to keeping on top of fire safety requirements, but keeping up to date takes valuable time. Completing paper log books, contacting suppliers and remembering your duties can be arduous and time-consuming.

How to simplify

Tio Fire Safety makes compliance easy. Fire safety can be difficult and complex, so at Tio, our goal is to remove barriers for schools, businesses and other organisations, simplifying your processes and ensuring you can efficiently keep up to date with your fire safety tasks and duties.

We support you in understanding your requirements, and guide you in setting up reminders and completing tasks. Built-in reporting to your chosen fire safety providers allows problems to be solved swiftly and without fuss. The Tio Fire Safety productivity tool also gives you enhanced visibility and transparency, helping you achieve and maintain compliance.

So, with the help of Tio Fire Safety you can simplify your processes and more easily manage your important duties and responsibilities.

With the help of innovative new tools like Tio, it can definitely become easier and less stressful, providing significant comfort and security to pupils, parents and staff alike.

To learn how to simplify fire safety in your school visit and start your free trial of our fire safety management tool.