Fire Safety Policy
Review date: September 2021
Date agreed by Governors: 16th September 2021
Date of next Review: September 2022
Table of Contents
Appendix 1: Displays and Decorations
Appendix 2: Electricity
Appendix 3: Fire Drill Procedures
This policy supports the work of the school in promoting its mission statement, aims and values.
Like a lighthouse, St Michael’s is a beacon of safety and stability. It takes courage to learn and remember knowledge, develop new skills and allow your own light to shine in the world. We respect our differences and know that working peacefully together allows our lights to shine more brightly.
‘Let your light shine’ Matthew 5:16
At St Michael’s we value every member of our school community and our aims are for every child, whatever their background or circumstances, to have the support they need to:
- Develop their understanding of the value of leading a healthy lifestyle
- Work and play in a secure and safe environment in which they are encouraged to develop moral values and mutual respect
- Experience an exciting curriculum which fosters their enthusiasm, develops an enquiring mind and enables every child to achieve his/her full potential
- Access an education for life which promotes British Values that enable all learners to become effective and reliable members of the wider community
- Foster ambition and expectation to carry through to adult life
To achieve these aims all learners, staff, parents and governors will work together to promote our core values of peace, courage and respect.
The prevention of fire is of vital importance. Most fires are caused by carelessness and ignorance. A high standard of fire consciousness will prevent this. It is the responsibility of all personnel to become conversant with these instructions.
Upon the outbreak of fire, the saving and preservation of life takes precedence over the salvaging of property. A member of staff’s first and overriding duty is of course to look after the children or persons under their charge and this will mean the evacuation of the building. No attempt should be made to fight fire until their safety is assured, and then without exposing any person to risk. Unless it is a matter of ‘life or limb’, only those staff who have undergone appropriate training should use the fire extinguishers.
The school fire officer is the school business manager and he or she is to be informed of all fires, no matter how small. A fire is not considered extinguished until such time as it has been inspected by the fire officer.
Fire risk assessments
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 came into force on 1 October 2006. This ensures that employers are responsible for ensuring appropriate fire precautions, which include:
- appropriate fire detection and fire-fighting equipment that is accessible and simple to use
- nominated employees to implement fire-fighting measures
- provision of adequate training and equipment for those appointed
- arrangements for any necessary contacts with external emergency services
- provision of adequate emergency escape facilities
In order to do this, employers should carry out risk assessments and revise them from time to time. They should identify any person especially at risk in a case of fire, eg a person who is deaf, blind or disabled etc.
An emergency plan to evacuate the premises should be created, providing for calling the fire service and allocating individuals who are responsible for supervising, controlling and putting into effect the plan. Fire drills must be carried out in accordance with the emergency plan and modifications made. It is important that any actions arising from the fire risk assessment form part of the overall health and safety policy for the school to ensure that the management of all health and safety risks are considered together.
There are no hard and fast rules about how the assessment should be carried out. The important thing is that it should both be practical and systematic to ensure that the whole of the workplace is examined, including every room or area, particularly any area not often in use.
Strategy for fire prevention
Management strategy for fire prevention may be classified as follows:
- everyday management and vigilance by staff to ensure that potential hazards are kept under control to prevent the occurrence of fire
- alarm, evacuation and emergency action backed up by notices, drills and practice to ensure that correct action is taken in the event of an outbreak of fire
A strategy should also include:
- planning for the actions to be taken in the event of fire:
– training of staff, including any specially delegated function
– provision of instruction to pupils
– display of appropriate fire instruction notices
– control of risks associated with activities or processes that may cause or adversely affect any outbreak of fire, eg process, storage, gas, electricity, contractors on site, vandalism
- check on existing structural precautions, and seeking further advice where there are thought to be deficiencies
- monitoring the effectiveness of precautions, eg analysis of evacuation drills, annual review by checklist
Issue of general fire notice
The issue of general fire notices to staff will take place during induction and annually, at the start of each academic year.
The fire officer is responsible for ensuring that all staff in the premises are trained in accordance with the requirements of the school. Every member of staff will receive instruction in fire precautions during induction and at the start of each academic year.
Control of risks: training of staff and instruction of pupils
- The training of all employed persons forms an essential part of the school’s fire precautions. The aim should be to ensure that all staff receive training in a basic appreciation of the risk of fire and the action to be taken in the event of fire, including instruction appropriate to their responsibilities in an emergency.
- Instruction and training for all will include the following points.
– action to be taken upon discovering a fire
– action to be taken on hearing the fire alarm
– method of raising the alarm, including location of call points, use of internal telephone system and location of external telephone
– correct method of calling the fire service
– location and use of fire-fighting equipment
– knowledge of escape routes
– evacuation method for the building, location of assembly point and method of accounting for persons
– appreciation of the importance of fire doors and the need to close all doors and windows at the time of a fire or on hearing the alarm
Pupils should be instructed termly to:
- know the action they should take on hearing the alarm
- know the location of the assembly points
- know what to do if not in a supervised group, in the event of fire
These points should be included on the fire notice, and reinforced during practice evacuations.
Fire drills will be carried out at least once every term. The exercise will include a simulated evacuation drill with the assumption that one escape route is not available. Each exercise will be started by a predetermined signal, such as activating the fire alarm and the whole premises will be checked as if an emergency has arisen. This fire drill can be combined with the instruction given to staff. When a fire drill is held, it will be recorded in the Fire Drill Log, held by the School Business Manager.
Testing of fire alarm systems
The fire alarm system will be tested weekly by the caretaker. A different call point for each test will be used and recorded in the log book. The fire alarm systems will be serviced twice a year.
The emergency lighting is to be examined weekly by the caretaker. The log book will be completed indicating any defects and these will be brought to the attention of the School Business Manager immediately. This lighting will also be checked by the maintenance contractor once annually.
All emergency exits are to be kept clear and free from obstruction at all times. It is the responsibility of all staff to be fully aware of the contents of these instructions and know the location of all fire exits and the assembly point in the immediate vicinity.
Electrical fire alarm is operated by release button. The fire alarm is to be raised no matter how small the fire.
These include fire extinguishers and fire blankets. There should be the correct type of fire extinguisher at each fire point, dependent upon the location.
Fire instruction notices
Printed notices should be conspicuously displayed at all fire points stating concisely what staff and others should do if a fire is discovered or if they hear the alarm. The notices should be permanently fixed in position and suitably protected to prevent loss or defacement.
Fire prevention checks
Regular fire prevention checks should be carried out.
Checks are to include the following.
- Unnecessary lights and electrical appliances (TVs, videos, microwave ovens etc) are to be switched off and, where possible, unplugged.
- It is recommended that convector heaters are not used in school. All other electric fires must be regularly tested and maintained.
The following precautions are to be observed.
- With the exception of essential systems that must continue to operate after normal working hours, all electrical appliances and lighting systems are to be switched off and disconnected by a person nominated for this purpose.
- Waste paper bins are to be emptied and the contents removed from the building.
- All parts of the school are to be inspected by the caretaker at the end of the day. He or she is also to ensure that computers have been closed down and television sets have been disconnected and that all doors are closed.
- Windows are to be left free from obstruction. To facilitate detection of a fire from outside, prior to vacating rooms or premises at the end of the day, all curtains should be drawn apart, other than when security requirements dictate otherwise.
Tidiness and cleanliness are essential fire prevention measures. The accumulation of rubbish and waste material is to be kept to a minimum; it is to be cleared away each day on the cessation of work and removed to a safe location outside and away from buildings for early disposal.
Paint materials are subject to spontaneous ignition. Such items should be removed to a safe external location on cessation of work. The storage or accumulation of combustible materials in roof voids, under stairs and similar spaces is forbidden.
Smoking is one of the main causes of fire and is prohibited in the school and the school grounds.
Refuse and rubbish
Refuse or rubbish must not be permitted to accumulate in or around the school. Disposal is to be undertaken at the end of each day.
Flammable materials are not to be stored near any form of heating.
When using electrical appliances, the following rules should be observed.
- They are to be switched off and unplugged when not in use.
- Only school provided gang adapters should be used.
- They are to be fitted with the correct plug for the socket provided. Plugs are to be undamaged.
- Temporary wiring and extensions are not to be used.
- Electrical faults are to be reported immediately to the Caretaker or the School Business Manager.
- Fuses that have blown must only be replaced after establishing the cause for the blowing, with fuses of the correct rating.
- A fuse should never be replaced with one of a higher rating.
- Flexible cable to fittings should be as short as possible and should be inspected regularly and replaced if worn.
- Personal portable electrical appliances must be PAT tested. Such items must not be used without the appropriate testing and prior authorisation of the headteacher.
Paints and solvents suitably marked are to be segregated in properly prepared stores. Paint and solvents should be disposed of correctly.
Grass and undergrowth
Grass and undergrowth is to be kept cut well back from buildings.
In order that losses by fire are kept to a minimum and that catering facilities are not jeopardised, a high standard of fire precautions in kitchens is of paramount importance. Catering staff should be fire conscious and are to be trained in the action to be taken when a fire occurs.
Special precautions may be required when disabled persons have access to a building. Where possible they should be located within a building so that they are able to evacuate with the minimum of assistance. This will normally mean location on the ground floor. However, consideration must be given to any steps or other changes of level that may need to be crossed.
A separate risk assessment will be completed for any child attending school with a disability who is based on the 1st floor of the building.
Use of lifts during evacuation procedures
The use of lifts is prohibited during fire evacuations.
Vandalism and damage limitation
Fire caused by vandals or persons breaking into a building intent on causing damage are a constant risk, and this type of fire is probably the greatest risk facing the school. Such fires are often started at night or during holidays, and result in extensive material damage, and disruption of pupils’ education.
The opportunity for reducing such vandalism lies partly in the long-term development of a good relationship with neighbours, and partly in the security of the premises, by ensuring the windows and internal doors are properly secured when the building is unoccupied. Combustible materials should not be left where they are immediately accessible to intruders, and flammable liquids, which may be used as accelerants, should be stored securely.
Structural fire precautions incorporated to assist escape from buildings will also reduce the spread of fire. All fire doors should be closed when premises are vacated (closing of all doors and windows is recommended to limit the spread of smoke damage).
Curtains, furnishings, art displays and decorations
Care should be taken when choosing curtains, furnishings and fittings. Inherent or tested fire-retardant materials should be used whenever possible.
- Art displays and other decorations of a combustible nature can increase the spread of fire considerably. Accordingly, the quantity and location of such displays is critical in reducing the fire loading.
- Displays should not block exits.
- Sources of ignition, such as light bulbs, should not be placed near the displays.
- Expanded polystyrene and other plastics produce large amounts of toxic, black smoke and considerable heat. They should not be allowed on escape routes.
Readily combustible materials such as paper should be stored in designated areas where they will be secure against unauthorised entry. These areas must be free of sources of ignition, such as heaters and suspended lighting units.
Flammable liquids must be kept in fire resistent storerooms or cupboards provided with ventilation.
All persons handling such material should be aware of the dangers.
All electrical apparatus should be installed by an approved contractor, using the correctly rated fuse. If a fault occurs, get it repaired before continuing. Electrical installations should be checked regularly as electrical faults are a major cause of accidental fires.
All electrical equipment not required to be used out of hours should be switched off and the plug removed from the socket. All portable electrical equipment is to be checked annually by a suitably qualified contractor.
Fire doors have at least one of two functions, to protect:
- escape routes from the effects of fire so that occupants can safely reach a final exit
- the contents and/or the structure of a building by limiting the spread of fire
Neither of the above functions will be satisfactorily undertaken unless the door is a good fit in the frame, the self-closing device is working efficiently and the door is not wedged or held open.
Even if a door is not a fire door, it may reduce smoke and heat damage, so at evenings and weekends, all doors should be left in the closed position.
Building contractors bring a large number of ignition sources to the school. Ensure that all contractors entering the premises are aware of the fire precaution measures and procedures, should a fire occur.
At the end of the day, no building materials should be left outside where vandals can use them to damage the premises.
The school business manager should be made aware when hot cutting work is to take place for both the safety of the pupils and the school and that contractors have signed the hot works log.
Access for emergency vehicles must be kept clear at all times. Combustible buildings must be sited away from the main building to avoid fire spread. Areas beneath raised buildings, such as sheds, should be protected against the accumulation of litter and access for intruders.
Combustibles, rubbish containers and equipment, which could be used by vandals, especially those used by outside contractors, must not be left unsecured.
The purpose of the fire routine is to establish what action is to be carried out in the event of a fire. It should be in the form of a written notice and cover the basic facts below (see the fire evacuation procedure document):
- what to do if you discover a fire
- what to do when you hear the alarm of fire
- roll call
- calling the fire service
- special needs of cleaners, disabled, etc.
Advice on the procedure in the event of fire
At time of emergency:
- If you discover a fire – or one is reported to you – operate the nearest fire alarm call point by breaking the glass.
- If you hear the fire alarm, evacuate the premises immediately, as detailed in the evacuation procedure for the school.
- Ensure that the fire service is called by dialling 9/999.
After the event, follow the procedure described below:
- Do not re-enter the premises until advised to do so by the senior fire service officer present.
- Ensure that the premises are in safe working order before re-occupying: fire doors satisfactory, fire alarm operating, extinguishers re-charged.
- Statistics have shown that any publicity given to a school fire can result in a second fire. Members of staff are not to talk to the media unless authorised by the headteacher.
- The Fire Marshal is to analyse the procedures followed during the fire to determine whether changes are required.
The safety of a building’s occupants cannot be assured by design alone. Any building can quickly become dangerous unless there is foresight in the activities carried out there, and care in the maintenance of it.
The following fire records are to be maintained:
- persons with special responsibilities
- fire alarm call point locations and checks
- weekly fire alarm tests
- fire alarm fault records
- fire alarm maintenance inspection
- emergency lighting maintenance inspection
- fire-fighting equipment routine monthly checks
- fire drills
- fire-fighting equipment tests and maintenance by contractors
- training records (quarterly and on induction)
- visits and inspections by the fire service
Publication of fire instructions
These instructions are to be held by all staff.
All new arrivals are to have fire instructions brought to their attention.
The classroom fire notice is to be displayed in each classroom.
Great care should be taken that educational and display materials, which may be added to a building by the occupants, do not unintentionally cause a fire hazard. The same caution is needed in respect of decorations using combustible materials, for example, Christmas trimmings and displays of autumn leaves. Flimsy materials, natural and artificial, can be readily combustible and increase the risk of fire occurring and, depending on quantity and location, will increase the possibility of rapid spread of smoke and fire. Blazing pieces may drop over a wide area before people have a chance to escape.
In determining what is reasonable by way of display materials and/or decorations, the overriding consideration is whether persons are likely to be trapped as a result of fire involving such materials. This is a difficult area for the lay person to assess as it needs an understanding of how parts of the building contribute to escape routes, and how materials, for example display boarding, may contribute to the spread of fire over its surface. The following guidance can be given concerning materials that form the linings of walls and ceilings (the technical terms are defined in DCSF Building Bulletin 7 (DCSF, 2005) and British Standard 476 (for fire doors), and are essential to understanding which materials are acceptable).
- In ‘protected stairways’, ‘protected corridors’ and ‘protected lobbies’, the surface linings should be ‘class 0’, ie non-combustible. The meaning of this is that display boards and free-standing displays should not be incorporated in these areas.
- In ‘horizontal circulation areas’, the linings should be ‘class 0’, except that 20 per cent of the total wall and ceiling area may be ‘class 2’. This means that display boarding may be acceptable in these areas, subject to its area being within the amount given, and that the character of the fire resistance as given in the manufacturer’s specification is ‘class 1’.
- In new construction, these requirements should have been taken into account at the design stage. However, occupants should ensure that no modifications occur, such as covering or painting that will change the nature of its fire resistance.
- Where there are any areas of doubt, for example whether a certain material is acceptable in terms of the effect that it may have on fire precautions, then the advice of the fire officer should be sought.
- Where displays are provided in other cases, they must be located where they are well clear of any source of ignition.
- Where paper, natural or plastic materials are used for decorations or display, they should not be suspended from light fittings or near any heat source. Coloured paper must not be placed inside light diffusers for coloured effects.
- Cellular plastics (polyurethane foam) present particularly severe fire risks and should not be used for display purposes.
The current running through electric wiring is a source of heat, and if a fault develops in the wiring, that heat can become excessive and start a fire. Neglect and misuse of wiring and electrical appliances is one of the main causes of fire. Fuses or circuit breakers are incorporated in a system to protect against overloading in the event of defect.
Plugs and circuits must be correctly wired and fused. Equipment and plugs with loose connections must be taken out of use.
In the event of a fuse protecting equipment or a circuit blowing, the cause of the failure should be identified before replacing the fuse.
Any replacement of fuses must be with fuses of the same rating.
Electrical socket outlets must not be overloaded, and the use of multi-way adapters inserted directly into the socket outlet is not permissible. It is therefore essential that before additional equipment is obtained, facilities should exist to allow its safe use.
It may be permissible to run up to four items of equipment which draw low amounts of current, for example computer and monitor from a single socket outlet by a fixed plug connected to a purpose-designed, four-socket outlet with an integral fuse. Careful location of the cable is essential. The unit should be removed when not in use.
Flexible cables are to be replaced when worn or damaged. This is not a task expected to be in the ability of most employees, as it will involve partial disassembly of the equipment.
After use, outlets should be switched off, and plugs removed from sockets.
Any addition or alteration to the permanent electrical system of premises must be carried out by a qualified electrician. Under no circumstances should work of this nature be undertaken without prior approval of the school business manager.
All Reception classes to leave by their classroom fire exit door and walk around to the assembly point.
All Year 1 classes to leave by their classroom fire exit door and walk around to the assembly point.
Walk down the main staircase, out of the fire exit at the bottom of the stairs and on to the assembly point.
3LT & 3MC leave by the fire door directly on to the KS2 playground and the evacuation point. 3CM to exit out of 3MC classroom.
All year 4 classes apart from 4BM to leave by the grey doors opposite the lift.
4BM to leave by 3LT classroom
All Year 5 classes to walk down the middle staircase and to use the doors next to the Nurture room (old library).
All Year 6 classes to use the staircase by the villa and exit through the grey doors at the bottom.
Staff should lead children from the Hall into the main school building and on to the assembly point via the safest exit.
Staff should lead children down the year 2 staircase and exit the building through the year 2 door on to the assembly point.
Staff should use the nearest exit to their allocated room to access the assembly point.
Staff should lead the children out through the main doors, through the gate and on to Basketball area.
MAIN ASSEMBLY POINT:
See picture attached.
KEY STAGE 1
Outer wall Gate Target rings Main entrance
RJS RMS RLL 1LH 1GH 1CC 2TM 2AB 2CW All office/kitchen staff/staff not which a class and visitors
KEY STAGE 2
5SS 5LC 5EB 3CM 3MC 3LT 4BM 4JW 4AV 6SS 6JS 6RO 6VC
Pre-School or Children’s Centre
Pre-School Children’s Centre
2.2 Children should line up as shown above. Space to be left between each year group for distancing purposes.
2.3 Visitors should leave by the nearest exit and congregate at the front gate. If you have a visitor please send them to the front gate when you evacuate the building.
2.4 Any class using the Hall should use the school entrance as the primary exit route. All other exits may be used as an alternative route.
2.5 Any children under supervision in any area of the school will be escorted by that member of staff/adult to the designated area for their class.
2.6 A designated staff member will position themselves at the main gate to prevent visitors/latecomers entering the grounds. This is Miles Spencer Shaw at lunchtime and Liz Chatfield at all other times. Other staff are to be aware that these members of staff may have children with them who will need to be collected by their teacher or TA and brought to their class line.
2.7 The Fire Marshal will be responsible for telephoning the emergency services. In the absence of the Fire Marshal a member of staff who has undergone Fire Marshal training will call the emergency services.
3.1 The staff in the hall will escort the children in the hall out to the evacuation points via the two doors leading on to the school corridor and from there via the main and middle doors. Exiting via the West Hill Road fire doors should be used as an alternative route.
3.2 If the fire occurs during a wet lunchtime, the supervisor responsible for each class will carry out the above procedures when the children are in their classrooms.
3.3 If the children are in the playground, staff will direct the children to walk quietly and calmly to their designated areas.
3.4 At lunchtimes, all staff must leave the premises and help the above process; even if they realise it is a ‘false alarm’ or ‘test’.
4.1 During the school hours, the office staff will bring the evacuation report for children and staff and the visitors’ log out of the school, hand them to each class teacher who will make ‘roll call’. If a child is missing, the Head Teacher will be notified immediately. They will also bring the church hall key.
4.2 At lunchtime, the Office staff will collect the evacuation reports and visitors’ log from the school office and give the registers to the Teaching Assistants on midday supervisor duty, who will ensure each child is present.
4.3 The Head Teacher will check the toilet areas and rooms other than classrooms from the main entrance towards the key stage one end of the school. The caretaker will check the toilet areas and rooms other than classrooms from the main entrance towards the key stage two end of the school.
4.4 1 deputy head will confirm numbers of Key Stage 2 pupils and verify with either Pre-School or Children’s Centre leaders of their numbers before informing the School Business Manager of any deficiencies. The 2nd deputy head will emulate this process for Key Stage 1 and Reception.
4.5 The school business manager (or Lead Practitioner in her/his absence) will be positioned at the main school gate to receive reports from the deputy heads and liaise with emergency services accordingly.
4.6 In the event of having to evacuate the building before the registers are completed, all teachers will hold an up-to-date pupil check list which they will bring with them to assist in calling a register at the evacuation point. As a precautionary measure, office staff will bring copies of these lists.
4.7 Office staff will endeavour to print an evacuation report before 9.30 a.m. However, this may take longer depending upon the number of late comers and the number of absence messages left on the answering machine. The report will be printed by 10.00 a.m. at the very latest.
4.8 In the event of having to evacuate the building between the registers closing and 10.00 a.m. office staff will print that morning’s report to give teachers the most up-to-date information.