Today’s Education in the Media blog clarifies the rules around sprinklers in schools.
Sprinklers in schools
When a school is being built, in accordance with building regulations, sprinklers must be installed if a risk assessment determines they should be. In all instances where this is the case, sprinklers are installed.
On Wednesday 25 October, there were reports on calls to install sprinklers in all UK schools, regardless of risk assessments. These concerns have been covered by BBC Online, BBC Breakfast, the Today Programme and PA.
Like all public buildings, schools must be built to meet some of the strictest fire safety rules in the world. This is combined with schools carrying out regular fire drills and being designed to aid swift evacuation so all schools can be evacuated in a matter of minutes should a fire occur.
The BBC included comments from a construction expert who pointed out that schools are designed so that they are a low fire risk with exit routes, fire doors and reinforced walls. As a result, school fires are very rare and injuries as a result of fires rarer still. The Department is playing an active part in the inquiry into fire safety following the Grenfell tragedy.
A Department for Education spokesperson said:
The safety of children and young people is our top priority. That’s why all schools must have a Fire Risk Assessment and new schools undergo an additional safety check while being designed. It has always been the case that where the risk assessment recommends sprinklers in a school building, they must be installed.
All school building work must comply with building regulations and all schools follow strict fire safety regulations to ensure they are as safe as possible and well prepared in the event of fire.