Article

School fire prevention checklist

The extent of a school’s fire exposures will be determined by the scope of operations, access to the public, physical location, and the construction of the facility. The primary cause of school-related fires alternates between cooking-related fires and incendiary fires. In lower grades, cooking fires account for the greatest fire frequency, while in higher grades, school incendiary or suspicious fires have the highest frequency. The following areas should be reviewed to provide a comprehensive exposure assessment:

Facilities

Yes

No

N/A

Is the facility in compliance with local building and fire prevention codes?      
What is the date of the last inspection of the facility by the local fire department?      
Have any renovations and/or alterations been made since the last inspection?      
Are concealed spaces properly fire-stopped or otherwise protected?      
Are there fire exposures from adjacent buildings or structures?      
Are stairways, elevator shafts, escalator openings, or other vertical openings enclosed with fire barriers or protected with approved automatic sprinkler systems?      
Are the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems properly maintained?      
Are air circulation systems designed to automatically shut down in the event of a fire?      
Does the building have a sprinkler system that is installed and maintained in conformance with NFPA 13, Standard for Installation of Sprinkler Systems, published by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)?      
Are buildings protected by a fire alarm system that provides both manual and automatic initiation devices?      
Are smoke detection and fire alarm systems provided for each enclosed room or area?      
Are fire suppression and alarm systems covered by maintenance and service contracts?      
Does the alarm system include both manual and automatic initiation devices that provide immediate evacuation notification to the occupants?      
Is a voice communication system installed to notify students, staff, and visitors of an emergency and provide directions, as necessary?      
Are the furnishings and decorations of the building fire-retardant?      
Does the electrical system appear to be in good working condition?      
Are electrical cords and connections for appliances inspected before use?      
Is electrical equipment that is used in wet areas, such as restrooms and outside locations, provided with ground fault protection?      

Exits

Yes

No

N/A

Are assembly areas, such as auditoriums and gymnasiums, provided with the required number of emergency exits?      
Are access roads provided for buildings when any point of a building’s exterior is located more than 150 ft. (45.7 m) from a roadway?      
Are the locations of fire exits indicated by clearly visible signs?      
Are fire exits provided with panic hardware and not locked by chains or padlocks?      
Are access routes to emergency exits freely accessible at all times and not used to store materials, such as desks, sports equipment, etc.?      
Are rooms over 250 ft.2 (76.2 m2), located less than four stories above grade, provided with at least one outside window for rescue, except when protected by an automatic sprinkler, or provided with an exterior egress route?      
Are exit corridors at least 6 ft. (1.8 m) wide?      
Are pre-school, kindergarten, and/or first-grade students located at the level of exit discharge (e.g., ground) or provided with a dedicated exit, when located above ground level?      
Are second-grade students not more than one story above the level of exit discharge (e.g., ground) or provided with a dedicated exit, when located above ground level?      

Storage areas

Yes

No

N/A

Are consumable supplies, such as glues, office paper, work uniforms, and cleaning supplies, stored in conformance to local fire code requirements?      
Are supplies stored on stable surfaces, in stable configurations, and not blocking access to fire and emergency exits?      
Are supplies and stock located at least 3 ft. (0.9 m) from heating units and ductwork?      
Are storage rooms, trash rooms, and similar areas separated from other areas by one-hour fire barriers or protected by automatic sprinklers?      
Are lawnmowers and other fuel-powered equipment stored in a separate building?      
Are flammable liquids used and stored according to the requirements of NFPA 30, Flammable Liquids Code?      
Are laboratory chemicals stored according to the requirements of NFPA 45, Standard on Fire Protection for Laboratories Using Chemicals?      
If there are aboveground or underground storage tanks for flammable/combustible liquids on site, is the access to the storage tanks restricted by fencing, location, or other means to ensure that unauthorized persons cannot enter the area?      

Operations

Yes

No

N/A

If there are kitchen facilities, are they equipped with fire protection and suppression systems?      
Are kitchen appliances inspected on a regular basis, but at least annually?      
Are kitchen appliances equipped with easily accessible and removable non-combustible grease filters?      
Are risk controls in place for specialized hazards, such as those present in woodworking, metalworking, or other vocational classrooms?      
If arts and crafts are displayed in hallways, is the volume of these displays limited to no more than 20 percent of the wall space?      
Are arts and crafts displays configured to maintain at least 36-in (91.4-cm) clearance from ignition sources?      
If smoking is allowed on the premises, is it restricted to certain areas?      
Is there an emergency action plan for the facility?      
Are fire drills conducted on at least a monthly basis?      
Are evacuation procedures reviewed with visitors, prior to the start of special events, such as stage productions?      
Are all exterior areas of the business property illuminated?      
Are exterior doors and windows of the building(s) secured from unauthorized access?      
Does a fence protect the perimeter of the property?      
Is there a closed-circuit television (CCTV) system?      
Is trash removed from outside and inside areas daily and placed in a secure storage room or area, while awaiting disposal?      
Are bathrooms, lavatories, and locker rooms regularly monitored by attendants or guard patrols, and accumulation of waste paper and linen removed frequently?      
Are visitors and students prohibited from roaming freely throughout the property?      
Are access control systems, such as coded badges, keys, or biometric scanning systems, used to limit access to storage rooms, heating plants, and similar areas?      

Copyright © 2016, ISO Services, Inc.

The recommendation(s), advice and contents of this material are provided for informational purposes only and do not purport to address every possible legal obligation, hazard, code violation, loss potential or exception to good practice. The Hanover Insurance Company and its affiliates and subsidiaries ("The Hanover") specifically disclaim any warranty or representation that acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein will make any premises, property or operation safe or in compliance with any law or regulation. Under no circumstances should this material or your acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein be construed as establishing the existence or availability of any insurance coverage with The Hanover. By providing this information to you, The Hanover does not assume (and specifically disclaims) any duty, undertaking or responsibility to you. The decision to accept or implement any recommendation(s) or advice contained in this material must be made by you.

LC FEB 2019-463
171-10031 (2/17)