How Fire-Proof are Our Schools?
Fire safety in schools is often a neglected element in many Indian schools and there are no rules that are set in place for checking this aspect. This has come to light recently in the fire disaster that happened in Tamil Nadu. Schools must step up and take responsibility and ensure that all possible safety precautions are maintained.
Importance of Fire Safety in Schools:
School fire safety is important for the simple reason that a large number of children are gathered at one place and a single fire can affect all of them. Most of the furniture in a class room such as chairs, tables and desks are made from wood and these can easily catch fire. The chemistry lab which contains large quantities of flammable liquids is especially at risk. A fire in such places can go out of control and thus, fire safety in schools has become an extremely important issue. An uncontrolled fire can cause not just property damage but also huge loss in life.
In case schools have a canteen, this usually involves dealing with large containers of LPG and accidents with these can lead to fire breakouts as well. This situation must also be monitored regularly to ensure fire safety in schools.
Every school must take the necessary precautions in order to prevent anything untoward from happening in the case of an emergency, like a fire. Every floor must have a fire extinguisher or at the very least sand banks must be set in place. These can be used to contain the fire before it spreads. Teachers and non-teaching staff such as peons and other helpers must be instructed in the use of fire extinguishers. This is of primary importance. The school must have a particular method set in place for emergency evacuation of students and drills must be conducted on a frequent basis. This will ensure that students know who to reach in case of an emergency. The school must be in contact with emergency services like the fire and rescue department and ensure that they respond as soon as possible in case of an emergency.
Fire alarms are expensive, however they are a necessary investment and these may well save many lives in case of any crisis. Fire alarms must be placed at strategic points and they must be checked regularly.
Schools are entirely responsible for the safety of their children and they cannot expect the government to install any fire safety provisions. Government enforcement of fire safety in schools in India is deficient and the schools must take it up into their own hands to do the necessary actions.
Fire safety in schools is essential and all schools must work together with parents and government agencies to ensure complete safety for their students.