School Security: Fires and Hazardous Materials

        Prepare Your School for Security and Disaster Threats


U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 6,260 fires annually on educational properties between 2005-2009, reported by the National Fire Protection Association. In addition to conducting monthly fire drills with your local fire department, it’s also important to:

     • Pay special attention to areas where you may be storing explosive,
     flammable or toxic chemicals. These areas should be properly secured and
     inventoried, with limited hands-on contact of these materials when possible.

     • Evaluate critical locations in your facility for proper security,
     including the electric, telephone and gas units, building entrances,
     transformers, outside storage units and computer rooms.

     • If your facility has a security and/or fire alarm system, be sure it is
     operating properly and that key personnel know how to use it.

     • Make sure that fire suppression systems are regularly inspected and
     maintained. Also be sure that a sufficient number of trusted personnel
     know how to activate, operate and shut them down.

     • Have your local fire department conduct a pre-planned visit to your
     building. While there, they can identify potential hazards and plan fire
     suppression priorities.

A natural disaster or security risk could happen in your school any day. It is imperative that you have a plan to handle these potential risks, both to ensure the safety of your students and staff and to avoid a financial crisis that could shut down your school. To prepare for the unexpected, you should review your security and disaster readiness plans to help you minimize the impact of any potentially threatening situation.

Keeping your building secure from outside criminals or unauthorized personnel is a paramount responsibility. Assess your facility’s current security features and determine where improvements should be made.