School Fire Safety: 10 Tips for the New Semester

Author: Diana Rodriguez-Zaba
Last modified: March 13, 2019

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If you’re a school director, you’re responsible for the safety of students and staff. That includes making sure everyone understands school fire safety and knows how to react in case of an emergency.

We know you have solid plans in place, but when was the last time you reviewed prevention and evacuation procedures?

It’s always a good idea to take a fresh look at established policies. As one of Chicago’s largest fire damage restoration contractors, we share your commitment to safety on campus, and we appreciate your hard work.

10 Tips for Fire Safety at Your School

fire prevention alarm at school

Every school is different. You develop school fire safety plans that fit your campus best. It’s part of your job as director, and we offer our assistance. These 10 tips can easily be incorporated into any campus fire safety program.

1. Review Prevention Policies

The prevention of fire in schools is an ongoing process that should be reviewed regularly. The Chicago Fire Department provides educational programs for campuses across the city, and they freely offer their expertise to help refine school fire prevention policies.

2. Make System Familiarity a Requirement

Make sure faculty and staff members are familiar with your school’s fire safety systems. When everyone has a working knowledge of sprinklers, security lighting and alarms, they’re more likely to spot potential system problems.

3. Ensure Clear Access to Alarms and Exits

This is another job that’s easily taken care of by teachers and staff. Throughout the day, week and school year, keep a vigilant eye on fire exits, stairwells and alarm stations so that they don’t become blocked.

4. Map Evacuation Routes

Post maps in each classroom that clearly show two different escape routes in case of a school fire. Explain to students that these areas in hallways and stairwells need to stay clear of obstructions at all times. Ask for their help backing up staff efforts to keep evacuation routes safe.

5. Practice Fire Drills Regularly

No matter how well you teach fire safety in schools, lessons need to be reinforced with practice. Hold regular fire drills once a month so that students become familiar with getting organized for evacuation and following escape routes. These are safety skills they can take home too.

6. Set Up a Buddy System

In each classroom, identify children with special needs. Work with other students in the class to set up a buddy system that supports kids who need extra help during practice drills or actual school fire emergencies.

7. Stress Order Over Excitement

Children naturally get excited during a fire drill, but make it clear that safety depends on order. Explain why they must keep their place in line and stay with the group. Teach them to remain calm now so that they can face a real emergency without being frightened.

8. Count Heads in a Safe Zone

Designate areas outside the building as safe zones for holding in place after an evacuation. Teachers should use rosters to confirm an accurate head count for each class. Make sure students understand that they should never try to go back inside until they’re given the all-clear.

9. Shake Up the Routine

Several times each semester, hold unscheduled fire drills. Run these unexpected practices at different times of day and under different conditions. This gives you and staff the opportunity to pinpoint any problems with your plans, and it helps children learn to stay calm during an emergency.

10. Empower Your Students

Let students know how important it is to always practice fire safety. Tell them how much you appreciate them for behaving, helping buddies and following the rules. When they know they’re learning skills that will serve them even in college, kids take pride in being a part of school fire safety.

School Fire Safety Resources Online

Take a look at online resources for ideas that fit your school’s fire safety programs. Sites like FireFacts.org offer creative teaching tools for all grade levels. FireSafeKids.org is another site tailored for students with puzzle games, word scrambles and other activities that make learning about fire safety fun and entertaining.

Our Shared Commitments

school fire restoration

We join fire damage restoration contractors across the city in expressing our gratitude for all you do to keep our kids safe. It’s a commitment we all share, so we hope our tips help you fine-tune your procedures. If you have ideas you’d like to share, we invite you to join our community through our Comments Section.

ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba is here for your campus 24/7. If you should ever need a school disaster restoration team, we’re standing by ready to answer your call. We salute you and thank you for your hard work.

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