With so many people back on campus after the holidays, risks of a fire can increase. Every industry faces challenges when it comes to fire protection, prevention, and occupant safety. But for the educational industry, the biggest issue comes simply from the many different buildings that cater to your students, faculty and staff. Naturally, fire safety is one of your many concerns, and being prepared is critical to all facilities. So, what are the main causes of fires in educational properties?
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 3,320 structure fires in schools per year in 2013-2017. These fires caused $42 million in direct property damage.
- 37% were started intentionally
- 24% were due to playing with heat source
- 20% began in a kitchen or cooking area
- 12% were due to heating equipment
NFPA also states, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated annual average of 4,100 structure fires in dormitories, fraternities, sororities, and barracks. These fires cost $14 million in direct property damage.
- 87% began in a kitchen or cooking area
- 5% were started intentionally
- 3% were due to smoking
- 2% were due to heating equipment
- 2% were due to electrical
As a facility manager, your fire safety plan must take into account that a great number of people present during a fire will have little to no training on how to respond. So making sure that your campus is prepared for a fire while keeping your students, faculty and staff safe is critical. That’s why the maintenance of your fire barriers are important to keep up to date with the code standards.
Fire and life safety services are a group of systems that help compartmentalize a building through the use of fire-resistance rated walls/floors. Compartmentalizing your facility into smaller sections helps to slow or prevent the spread of fire/smoke from one room to the next. This helps to limit the amount of damage done to a building while providing those on campus more time to evacuate. A facility’s fire and life safety systems includes fire/smoke dampers, fire doors, fire walls/floors, and photoluminescent egress path markers and exit signage.
Unfortunately we all know fires happen. As much precaution as we take to prevent them, they happen! So what can you do to help prevent fires from happening? Be cautious when using electricity or any kind of heating equipment and make sure each building’s fire and life safety systems are inspected and repaired according to the code standards.