Each year more than 1300 schools in the UK suffer large fires and the average cost of school fires exceeds £60 million per annum. Most school fires are very small but are still potentially serious. It is estimated that 56% of school fires are non-accidental. There are a unique range of fire hazards and issues and fire training must take these into account
PEOPLE AT RISK
Schools cater for a broad age group and children are likely to behave differently in an emergency than adults. Young children are more likely to panic and may not understand the significance of a fire alarm. UK Fire Training takes account of these factors in all of its courses for schools
Nearly 60% of all school fires are thought to be non-accidental. Arson is a major challenge for schools of all type and size. An awareness of arson and its prevention is vital. Good security coupled with excellent external housekeeping can reduce the chance of a school becoming another statistic. UK Fire Training courses cover this in detail
DAMAGED EQUIPMENT / FALSE ALARMS
Unfortunately, many schools have problems with pupils abusing fire protection equipment such as extinguishers and fire doors. In addition, pupils often tamper with fire alarms which can result in expensive abortive Fire Service attendance. Our training emphasises the need to check equipment and to advise pupils on the importance of fire safety.
Many schools have kitchens used for meals and these include large commercial cooking facilities. Cooking equipment is a major cause of fire and the issues created are taken into account in UK Fire Training courses.
SCHOOL FIRE EXAMPLES
Huge fire at school near London, residents report explosion
A huge fire has swept a school in Surrey, south of London, following reports of an explosion, with around 40 firefighters at the scene tackling the blaze.
Ambulances and a helicopter are at the scene. Police confirmed that all individuals had been accounted for.
Chris Marchington told the paper he was in his back garden with his son when he heard the explosion.
“It was the beginning of a smallish fire at that point, on the roof of the new build that's happening at St George's School,” he said.
He added that he had heard “very nasty bangs,” which he described as “really grim” with a “nasty smell.”
“There was a small explosion, big enough for us to hear and there were flames on the roof of the new building,” he said.
“Things then just escalated really quickly,” he said.
A Surrey Fire & Rescue Spokesman said: “We were called to a fire in Thames Street, Weybridge at 12:37 and have sent eight fire engines, a number of specialist vehicles and around 40 firefighters to the scene.
“We can confirm the exact location of the fire is a construction site on the premises of St Georges School in Thames Street, Weybridge, and everyone at the scene has been accounted for.”
Leyland school fire was ‘catastrophic’ says judge
A teenager has been locked up over a fire which destroyed a school in Leyland.
The 16-year-old boy was sentenced to an 18 month detention and training order for the blaze at Leyland St Mary’s, at Preston Crown Court.
A second lad, 14, was given a two year youth rehabilitation order. Both had admitted arson.
Leyland St Mary’s Catholic Technology College was devastated by the fire which broke out on September 1 2013, two days before the school was due to start back for the Autumn term.
At its height 20 fire engines and 120 fire fighters were at the scene as hundreds of onlookers took to the streets as the fire took hold. Fire crews battled for more than eight hours.
Five boys were initially charged but three were cleared of the allegations.
The 16-year-old, dressed in a grey shirt and navy tie, shook his head and looked at his family as he was given an 18 month detention and training order.
Judge Stuart Baker, sitting at Preston Crown Court, said: “In my view the case is so serious that, even taking into account mitigation, the only proper sentence of the court which would adequately punish him and provide him with rehabilitative elements is a detention and training order.”
In distressing scenes the youngster was heard banging the cell door after he was led away, as his mother broke down in the gallery.
Turning to the 14-year-old, who wore his school uniform, the judge said he recognized there were different issues in his case and imposed a two year youth rehabilitation order, including a 20 hour attendance centre requirement and curfew.
Speaking of the “burden” it had caused, he said: “The bare facts of this case are shocking. St Mary’s School was catastrophically damaged by fire.
“It was by any stretch of the imagination, a major incident. Arrangements had to be made for the school’s 700 pupils to receive their education elsewhere.”
“The defendants trespassed in the school grounds in the summer holidays, made a den and, as they now admit, set fire to pieces of polythene in the den.