While schools are working hard to make sure children are as safe as possible from Covid-19, Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) is making sure they are fire safe too.
Officers from NFRS’s Fire Protection Team have been busy on the phones in recent weeks and have so far contacted almost 300 schools in the county, with this work ongoing.
And, with schools preparing to begin their summer breaks, protection officers will also be working throughout July and August to make sure schools have the fire safety measures they need, as they work to fit in with Covid-19 guidelines from September onwards.
Contact is being made with both primary and secondary schools across Northamptonshire in order to make sure fire safety measures are remembered.
Most schools have had to make necessary changes to practical issues such as classroom layouts, access to and from school buildings and even staffing structures to maintain protective ‘bubbles’ of students and teachers.
School staff have had a lot to think about, so protection officers are lending a hand to help make sure fire safety is also in place.
Protection Manager Scott Richards said: “We have been working more remotely in recent months and, given the amount of change school buildings are going through in order to be as safe as possible from infection, we felt that it was also very important for us to make these calls and offer support and advice to schools.
“We need to make sure that, while spaces are kept well ventilated, fire doors are never propped open and there is staff in place to carry out fire evacuations if necessary – despite reduced numbers in school. There is a lot to navigate to make sure that fire safety is not compromised in anyway, so we are happy to be able to act as a resource for schools to access for potentially life-saving advice.
“So far the response we have had from schools has been very positive and they have been pleased to have access to this additional support.”
Although most work carried out by protection officers has been remote, in line with Covid-19 restrictions, site visits are also carried out whenever they are necessary.
Support for schools has formed just part of the Protection team’s work to support the community during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Their work earlier in the lockdown included offering remote support to more than 360 care, nursing and community homes, to make sure fire safety measures were in place.
Anyone who would like fire protection advice can contact NFRS by ringing 01604 797000 and asking to speak to the Protection department or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
NFRS is still responding to emergencies as normal. In the event of a fire remember to get out, stay out and call 999.