School Fire Alarms By KCS Projects – We Supply And Install Top-Quality School Fire Alarm Systems!
Searching For Fire Alarms For Schools? Our Expert Team Can Fit The Perfect Fire Alarm System For Your Building
Children constitute one of the most vulnerable groups during a fire, and schools are at significantly higher risk of fire than other commercial buildings.
In fact, statistics released by leading insurance provider Zurich Municipal (2020) found that schools were twice as likely to experience a fire than any other commercial property.
Between 2019-2019, as many as 40 schools a month were affected, with damage to over 15,000m² of classroom space, at a cost of up to £20 million per school. Despite this, a quarter were rated poorly with regard to their fire detection systems.
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Why School Fire Alarm Systems Are Important – The Key Statistics
Schools are up to three times more likely to fall into the ‘high risk’ fire category than other types of commercial buildings
66% of all schools surveyed by Zurich were rated as having ‘poor’ fixed fire protection systems including sprinklers
Local Government Association figures state that there are on average, 1,500 fires in UK schools and educational establishments (ABI, 2016)
Just 2% of UK schools affected by fires in the years 2015-2020 were fitted with sprinklers (FireTrainingCompany.co.uk)
Only 400 out of the 32,000 schools in the UK have sprinkler systems installed
Up to 75% of all school fires are caused by arson attacks, making it the leading cause of all school fires (FireSafe.org)
50% of all arsonists prosecuted, cautioned or found guilty each year are between 10-16 years old
50% of all fire deaths under the age of sixteen are children under 5 years old
Almost 10,000 schools across the UK use dangerous cladding materials (lbc.co.uk)
Every year, 90,000 UK students have their learning disrupted due to a fire outbreak in their schools
Fire Safety Responsibilities In UK Schools
Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, schools are required to nominate a ‘Responsible Person’ or fire warden to carry out Fire Safety duties, such as conducting fire risk assessments and arranging smoke alarm tests and fire drills.
All non-domestic properties are legally required to install a smoke alarm which can be heard from all areas and by all occupants. All alarm systems installed should be appropriate for the building structure and layout, and should be tested weekly under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
Fire safety guidelines recommend that fire drills are performed a minimum of once a year, but preferably once per term.
These drills should be accompanied by a Fire Risk Assessment and actions to minimise any risks identified in the assessment. This includes ensuring that vulnerable persons are effectively supported to evacuate the building, such as including provisions for staff and students with hearing impairments.
Fire risk assessments should also identify the potential sources of fire in the school and install the appropriate fire extinguishers in these locations. These may include water fire extinguishers for fires fuelled by wood, paper, and solid materials, CO2 fire extinguishers for electrical fires or flammable liquids, or ABC powder extinguishers for wood and paper, flammable liquids, flammable gases, and electrical fires.
Schools should conduct a fire risk assessment whenever changes are made to the environment to identify any new potential risk factors.
Educational establishments should record all details of:
Incidents when the fire alarm has sounded, including the date, time, cause, and duration
Any alarm faults, repairs, or alterations
Alarm deactivations, including the date and time
All fire drills conducted using the alarm system
The Fire Safety Penalties For UK Schools
Failure to comply with fire safety legislation may be severe for schools, with penalties of up to £5,000 or potential prison sentences for responsible parties under The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
It is therefore essential that schools undergo regular Fire Safety training for staff, and practice alarm tests and drills preferably once per term to ensure that children can be escorted out of the building in a safe and orderly manner.
Fire safety legislation is enforced by several bodies across the UK. In most cases, local fire and rescue authorities are responsible for enforcing fire safety legislation.
However, there are independent regulators who may step in where necessary, including The Defence Fire Safety Regulator (DFSR) and the Health And Safety Executive (HSE).
Choosing The Right School Fire Alarms For You
When choosing an appropriate fire alarm system for your school, college, or university, it is essential to carefully consider the layout and structure of your site and its constituting buildings, as well as your students, staff, and day-to-day operations.
Prior to choosing your alarm, you must undertake a full fire risk assessment, carefully considering:
How long it takes to fully evacuate the site and the most efficient way of evacuating occupants
Students, staff or visitors who may be physically disabled, have a visual or auditory impairment, or cognitive or processing issues which may interfere with their ability to respond to an alarm
The type of operations that occur on-site, including any high-risk activities such as school kitchens or chemistry laboratories
How to integrate your fire alarm system with other security measures, such as intruder alarms and CCTV
Consulting an expert for advice regarding the specific requirements of your premises
There are two main types of fire alarm system that may be used in educational settings. These are known as Addressable and Conventional systems.
Addressable Fire Alarms
Addressable fire alarm systems use an identification code and location descriptor to identify which device was alerted. This information is then displayed on the LCD screen to allow the user to quickly and efficiently locate the fire.
Addressable fire alarm systems use a cause-and-effect mechanism, which is pre-programmed during commissioning according to the needs of the user. As such, the alarm can be programmed to alert different areas of the building in stages, which is essential when staged evacuations are required.
This allows time for people to move freely through corridors reducing the risk of overcrowding and trampling in an emergency.
This feature is also critical for conducting assisted evacuations for people who require extra support to evacuate the building, which may be essential for SEND schools or primary schools supporting young children.
An addressable alarm also allows your school to reduce disruption in unaffected areas of the site. An addressable system can be programmed to alert only the alarms in the affected area, which is useful for sites with multiple buildings or apartments.
Alternatively, the system can be programmed to set off all alarms on the site to evacuate all occupants in the event of a serious fire.
Addressable alarms are a flexible solution to a range of fire safety needs, and they can be linked to additional features such as door lock deactivation, sprinklers, and monitoring systems to promote the safe evacuation of students and staff and to ensure a rapid response to a fire outbreak.
Addressable alarm systems are less prone to false alarms than conventional fire alarm systems, and most modern designs use digital technology to communicate complex information, such as the heat level or the amount of smoke.
This allows addressable alarms to work intelligently, and reduces the likelihood of a false alarm.
Conventional Fire Alarms
In contrast to addressable fire alarm systems, a conventional alarm system uses an LED light on the fire alarm panel to alert the user to the overall zone of the fire, such as the floor. This is not a precise descriptor, and the Responsible Person(s) would be required to locate the exact position of the fire in order to relay this information to the emergency services.
For most medium to large-sized school buildings, we would recommend a wireless addressable alarm system to promote the highest levels of fire safety and avoid potential trip hazards.
Conventional alarm systems are better suited to smaller school buildings, and are more cost-efficient.
Which System Offers The Best Fire Alarms For Schools?
There are two things you should bear in mind when choosing a fire alarm system for your school, college, or university.
Conventional alarm systems are a cost-effective way to secure your premises against the risk of fire, and are most appropriate for small facilities with fewer occupants who have minimal requirements.
Addressable alarms, on the other hand, are best suited to premises with a large number of occupants, those with additional evacuation requirements, and buildings which may require a more flexible alarm.
Children and teens require a higher level of support to evacuate buildings in a safe and orderly manner. As such, addressable alarms may offer more benefits and a higher level of fire safety in the majority of educational settings.
If you have any questions regarding what kind of alarm system is best suited to your school, our team are experts in designing and fitting alarm systems for a wide variety of educational settings. If you still have questions, simply call us on 01234 230690 and we would be happy to help!
How We Can Help
KCS Projects is a trusted provider of fire alarm systems to a wide range of established educational institutions including primary and secondary schools, colleges, universities and hospitals.
Bringing over twenty years of work in the Security and Fire industries, we are experienced in delivering fire safety advice to educational establishments at all levels, and designing personalised evacuation plans to achieve the highest levels of fire safety and security for students, staff, and the public.