Arson and Fire Prevention in Schools
Studies have shown that arson is the number one cause of fires in the U.S. each year. Those fires have led to more than $1 billion in property loss annually. Next to arson, fires often result from open flames, faulty electrical wiring and lighting issues. This is why arson and fire prevention in schools is critical.
Schools are especially vulnerable to fire and arson because the buildings are often unoccupied and activity schedules are generally predictable to anyone considering a crime. In addition, arsonists, vandals and other criminals often target schools for personal reasons. Sadly, when schools are damaged by arson, the fire affects far more than just the building – it also causes a great deal of stress and anxiety for students, staff and parents. The disruption and lost class time also affect the students’ ability to learn and interferes with everything from exams to educational advancement. Teachers also lose many of the valuable resources and tools they need to teach effectively.
At Beacon Insurance of Pace, Inc., we specialize in providing for the insurance needs of churches and private Christian schools and have formed a strong partnership with GuideOne Insurance over the course of our two decades in service to our clients. This partnership is extremely beneficial because it affords us the ability to offer access to invaluable safety resources our clients need to keep their schools safe from danger. Our greatest mission is to illuminate our clients’ path to peace of mind and to empower them with the tools they need to stay safe. We believe those safety tools should always include an arson and fire prevention program.
Knowledge is Power in Preventing School Fires
As your school develops a program, consider taking these precautions:
- All exterior doors should be solid core construction and outfitted with quality deadbolt locks and hinges that are tamper-proof from the outside
- Create a “Neighborhood Watch” program and ask that neighbors notify the authorities in the event that suspicious activity is noticed on school property
- Form a relationship with local law enforcement officials and request that they patrol school property during the overnight hours
- Inspect the function of smoke and heat detectors and ensure fire extinguishers are in place and serviced on a regular basis
- Install a centrally monitored security and fire detection system as well as a fire sprinkler suppression system
- Put in motion-activated lighting near all access points, such as windows and doors
- Install video security cameras at all points of entry and other key areas throughout the property and building
- Keep all entry points locked when the building is unoccupied
- Illuminate all exterior buildings, doors, and parking lots properly during hours of darkness
- Keep trash receptacles and dumpsters in a location as far away from the building as possible
Don’t Forget To:
- Lock interior doors to control areas containing valuable or flammable materials
- Maintain the property so that it is free of all potentially combustible debris and litter
- Maintain limited access to building keys and consider a keyless electronic entry system
- Never store ladders or tools outside the building at the end of the day. Make sure that they are securely locked in a shed, outbuilding, or inside the building
- Store flammable liquids in a U.L. rated fire cabinet away from sources of heat such as furnace equipment
- Trim foliage and tree limbs around windows and doors in order to eliminate places for arsonists and criminals to hide
- Use timers for exterior lights during evening hours and consider the use of timed interior entry lights
- Vary the predictability of routine by parking vehicles in different locations on the property throughout the week
- Reinforce windows against break-ins with wire-mesh glass
Call Beacon Insurance Agency of Pace, Inc. to learn more about GuideOne and how we can help keep your school safe from fire and arson today!