In this blog we will discuss fire safety prevention, procedures, and common pitfalls in Florida schools. We’ll break down common causes, safety standards, and the fire safety services that our team of experts and specialists offer.
A school’s commitment to fire safety systems and preventative measures is perhaps the most significant life safety investment administrators make in the continued health and safety of their educators and student body. CFC understands the continued threat that fires present to the wellbeing of young students and has spent years implementing safety measures and solutions throughout Florida educational facilities. We prioritize providing thorough, code-compliant, and prompt fire safety system design, installation, and maintenance to schools of all grade levels.
The Florida Department of Financial Services created and published a comprehensive document that delineates standards for fire safety in schools. The Fire Safety in Educational Facilities document encompasses the most critical rules laid out by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the International Fire Code (IFC), which are at the very core of CFC’s operations. The standards set by these various agencies and organizations, as well as the statistics and data gathered from previous fire emergencies dictate our meticulous approach to fire safety in Florida schools.
Fire Safety in Schools: Facts, Figures, and Preventative Measures
The NFPA published an extensive report on structure fires in schools last year. This data reveals patterns that administrators, fire safety experts and educators can use to minimize the risk of fires in schools. From 2013-2017, there were over 3,000 fires on school property, ranging from preschool to grade twelve. These disasters were diverse in terms of their root cause, location, and scale, but ultimately caused an estimated 42 civilian injuries and $42 million in damage per year.
Statistics show that nearly ⅓ of school fires were due to cooking appliances, and 10 percent were caused by heating equipment. High school and middle school fires are much more likely to occur outside of school hours, most often between midnight and 4 am, despite the majority of fires recorded overall occurring during school hours and at peak occupancy. Middle schools and high schools are also subject to higher rates of intentionally set fires.
In contrast, elementary schools experience fires far more often due to misusing flammable materials, leaving equipment unattended, and playing with a heat source. Of even greater concern was a higher percentage of mechanical malfunctions and failures among elementary school buildings, which indicates a lack of proper maintenance and care. Regardless of the school level, most school fires began in locker rooms and bathrooms which stresses the importance of integrating fire safety measures evenly throughout educational facilities.
In the structure fire report, the NFPA noted how vital sprinklers are in controlling fires until firefighters can arrive on site. While sprinkler systems and fire alarms undoubtedly play a critical role in developing a comprehensive fire safety system, fire prevention and emergency preparedness entail so much more than sprinklers, fire extinguishers, and alarms. According to regulations, evacuation routes must remain unblocked and easily accessible. All schools must develop and implement fire drills to familiarize students with the process and evaluate fire protocol success or failure. Another notable aspect of fire safety addressed in the document was door locks. The Fire Marshal has banned the use of padlocks, chains, key-based locks, and any lock that entails multiple steps to open, in accordance with other NFPA codes.
CFC’s experts are well-versed in Florida state and local regulations and assist school administrators in ensuring that their school is code-compliant, efficient, and effective in current fire safety strategies. Our technicians can also advise on NFPA safety standards and suggest non-mandated measures to take to maximize safety, including proximity to fire extinguishers, heat sensors installation and locations, and the electrical panel and mechanical room setups. We take our responsibility in fire safety prevention with the utmost seriousness and strive to continuously improve the standard of care and protection provided to Florida students and teachers.
CFC’s Services, Expertise, and Commitment to Safer Schools in Our Florida Community
CFC services preschools, grade schools, high schools, and universities throughout the broader Florida community with pride and diligence, often working under contracts for public school districts as well as single school contracts for private schools. We offer extensive fire safety system design, installation, maintenance, repair, and inspection to public and private schools throughout districts including but not limited to Pinellas County Schools, Hillsborough County Public Schools, Pasco County, Sarasota County, Lee County, and Collier County.
We understand that each school is different in terms of geographic location, construction, student body, and risk. That’s why our certified and licensed CFC team works with each customer individually to understand unique concerns and tailor a thoughtful solution that meets code and also addresses concerns unique to each facility. We strive to follow all safety codes to the letter and stay continuously abreast of modifications.
CFC Systems is a veteran-owned organization that has provided customer-driven fire and life safety services to our treasured Florida community since the 1980s. With our unparalleled knowledge and expertise, technical craftsmanship, and tireless work ethic we help schools, businesses, and property owners protect life and property.
We look forward to continued contributions to the health and safety of our Florida students and educators. To inquire about our services or schedule a consultation, reach out today.