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Fire safety fines for students

Fire safety fines for students

Students are a high-risk group. Did you know that 81% of students undertake activities that increase the risk of fire in their accommodation?

  • One in two regularly ‘drink and fry’ causing hundreds of fires each year
  • Deep fat fryers and chip pans are the cause of 9% of fires
  • 43% admit to drying clothes over a heater.

Fire doors are safety devices. When a fire breaks out, they act as a barrier by holding the fire back so people can escape. While they are supposed to be kept closed at all times, students often see fire doors as more of a hindrance than a safety device.

 

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With issues like these seen every day, it’s clear to see why fire doors get wedged open. Despite this, regulations state that fire doors must be kept closed.

 

Fire safety fines

Many universities are imposing fines on students in halls of residence to:

  • encourage quicker evacuation
  • reduce false alarms
  • prevent wedged open fire doors.

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It can be a daunting experience leaving home for the first time, and students will be faced with the challenge of keeping on top of budgeting. While this approach to fire safety is completely understandable to discourage behaviour that may compromise this, students in halls are still seven times more likely to have a fire.

For many, an open fire door makes life easier. It stops the obstruction from heavy fire doors, reduces injury, slamming doors and inconvenience.

For many students, an open door makes meeting people a lot easier. Leaving home for the first time, their first thoughts will be getting to know their new housemates without the struggle of a heavy fire door.

There are legal and safe ways to keep fire doors open, such as a hold-open device. They enable freedom to move, ensure compliance and keep students safe. So students can start their new chapter, without concerns that they may be doing this…

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Fire safety tips for schools

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The cost of a school fire can be huge. Lives are at risk. Fire damage is not only expensive to repair, it causes disruption and can even affect exam results, and staff and pupil morale.

The most shocking false fire alarms uncovered!

The most shocking false fire alarms uncovered!

The fire alarm goes off and you immediately leave the building to safety. The fire brigade arrives with two fire engines to investigate the emergency situation which turns out to be — a slice of burnt toast. Perhaps you have encountered this situation.

The most recent statistics show staggering figures — 293,000 false fire alarms raised in 2013/14, costing the UK in excess of one billion pounds a year.

Paul Shaw of Staffordshire Fire Service said: “False alarms can also take crews away from community safety work and, in the case of on-call firefighters, needlessly take them away from their normal place of work.” This leaves the fire service depleted when there is a genuine emergency.

Here are some bizarre examples:

A British Airways passenger was so desperate to make his flight to Frankfurt, he set off the fire alarm so that he could make the plane. Instead of making his flight, he spent the day being questioned by the police.

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Firefighters were called out to a suspected blaze at a flat in Wandsworth, London. However, they were shocked to find the occupant burning large amounts of incense and tending to his large and unusual collection of animals, which included exotic birds, rabbits, lizards and a lot of cockroaches. Firefighters described the scene as “like walking into the Amazon”.

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Graham Leonard was fined £1,000 and ordered to carry out 140 hours of community service, after getting drunk and using the airport tannoy to sing karaoke before activating a fire alarm, causing an evacuation.

Unsurprisingly, Graham did not realise the full extent of his actions until the next day.

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Student halls of residence are full of young people forced to cook for themselves for the first time. With universities like St Andrew’s University in Fife which is known to have the highest rate of false alarms for cooking, it’s no wonder they are known as a hotspot for false alarms.

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There is a lot to think about regarding fire safety regulations which can seem a daunting task, but you don’t have to tackle them on your own. We’re here to help, with solutions that make compliance easy.

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Schools will be welcoming back all staff and students for the new term in September. Is your school COVID-secure? Fireco can help with your Coronavirus risk assessment.

Doorsets made easy

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Mythbusters! What are the real health and safety issues in your school?

Mythbusters! What are the real health and safety issues in your school?

Taking preventive measures to reduce accidents is a vital part of all schools’ ongoing commitment to health and safety. Unfortunately some people have taken this too far and it has resulted in some ludicrous policies being introduced.

To bust some of the health and safety myths, like banning children from using skipping ropes and playing conkers, to putting an end to science experiments, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) set up the ‘Myth Busters Challenge’. This allows organisations to challenge decisions made with health and safety in mind that are, put simply, overly cautious.

Here are some examples:

School bans children from wearing frilly socks

*Breaking news, frilly socks hurt people*
There is no law which specifies the length socks should be. The HSE panel made the valid point that if you tried to ban everything children could trip over, they wouldn’t be able to do anything.

Primary school not allowed to use ladders

In this case, as ladders were banned, staff were using chairs instead. Standing on chairs is a significant fall hazard and poses a much bigger risk.

All electrical items taken by pupils into a boarding school must be checked by an electrician for fire risks

Regulations don’t require every appliance such as a clock, phone charger or TV to be tested by an electrician. What could be carried out is to check that wires are not damaged and sockets not overloaded, which can be done by a staff member applying some common sense.

Risk assessment undertaken for serving tea at a school fete

Unless that tea is being served from a teapot balanced on someone’s head and they are simultaneously standing on stilts, there is no need to do a separate risk assessment for serving tea alone.

Even though it’s sensible to err on the side of caution, spending time on trivial things can end up in more important risks being overlooked, such as ensuring exits are kept clear and fire doors not wedged open, electrical switches and sockets are in good repair, and evacuation plans are correct and up to date.

How fresh air creates happier classrooms

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Did you know that children breathe more air than adults? That means they are more likely to be affected by any contaminants in the air. School pupils can feel tired and unwell if there isn’t enough fresh air coming into the classroom.

So what are some of the great reasons to allow fresh air into your school?

Removes pollutants
Pollutants build up in buildings with a lack of fresh air coming in. These can have a negative impact on the body including headaches, dizziness, fatigue and irritation. Letting in outside air prevents these pollutants and provides a fresh and comfortable setting.

Keeps you healthy and your mind sharp
Allowing in fresh air cleans the lungs and gets rid of impurities and allows more oxygen into the body. The brain uses 20% of the body’s oxygen supply – therefore keeping the air fresh is a sure way of keeping your pupils’ brains working at top capacity to help their learning.

Improves your mood and leaves you feeling energised
Oxygen releases the chemical serotonin, this encourages a sense of relaxation and happiness. Say hello to happier classrooms.

Fights off illness
Fresh air makes white blood cells stronger so you can kill off any bacteria and germs lurking about. A strong immune system means fewer pupils feeling under the weather.

Ultimately, a ventilated building will provide a better environment in which to learn and teach in. So keep your doors and windows open and allow the air to get in.

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Are your students alert and happy or plain drowsy?

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How fresh air can improve their learning

One of the major concerns on what impacts children’s performance in education is their school environment.

Adequate indoor air quality depends on effective ventilation which provides cool, clean air and removes the build-up of pollutants.

If the classroom is too hot and stuffy, this can make pupils lethargic, affects concentration and can have a detrimental effect on their ability to learn.

What are some of the benefits of allowing fresh air in?

Sharper mind and more energy
Fresh air helps you to think better and more clearly. It improves concentration and has a great effect on increasing energy levels. This can in turn lead to an improvement of student performance and engagement.

Strengthens the immune system
Stop stagnant air by allowing continuous outdoor air to flow into the building. White blood cells need enough oxygen to work properly so they can fight bacteria and germs. A stronger immune system will reduce absence and illness.

It makes you happier
Smile! Because fresh air leaves you feeling more relaxed and refreshed, promoting a sense of happiness and well-being. Say hello to more cheerful classrooms.

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