Fire Safety Policy

1. Introduction

1.1 Ashbourne attaches the upmost importance to fire safety matters at the College and has formulated a Fire Safety Policy to be compliant with its commitment and legal obligations. The policy and procedures are designed to safeguard the Ashbourne community, including visitors, and any other person who may be affected by the conduct of the College’s business, from death or injury in the event of a fire or associated explosion under the ‘Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and other appropriate regulations.

1.2 This includes the provision of a safe workplace, where fire safety risks are minimised, and are subject to annual and independent verification. Due to its importance, this Fire Safety Policy is inextricably linked to our Health and Safety Policy. At our annual health and safety meeting, we will review our current Health and Safety, Intruder, Fire and Lockdown policies and Evacuation Procedures.

1.3 The Colleges’ priority is to minimise the risk to life and to reduce injury.  The Fire Safety Policy, procedures and risk assessments at the College are designed to help our community to respond calmly and effectively in the event of a fire, in any one of the College buildings. This policy applies throughout all of the College’s three premises.

1.4 The Fire Safety Officer (FSO) with the help of the deputies, will keep staff informed of any changes that are made to the fire safety procedures.

1.5 All visitors to the premises are not left alone unless they are briefed or aware of, and familiar with, the fire safety procedures.

2. The Aim of the Fire Safety Policy

  1. Comply with all current legislation and guidance, liaising with the Fire and Rescue Service (FRS) as appropriate;
  2. Through annual risk assessments, training and retraining and constant oversight to prevent the incidence of fire;
  3. Minimise the impact on life and property in the event of fire by ensuring:
    1. the adequacy of our means of escape including emergency lighting
    2. the appropriate instruction, training and retraining, where appropriate, for all persons, including contractors, on the action to be taken in the event of fire
    3. the provision and maintenance of firefighting equipment
    4. termly fire evacuation drills.
  4. To communicate with staff and contractors updates for fire prevention, to seek their cooperation, remind them of their duties and encourage feedback to improve our fire prevention capabilities.

3. Specific responsibilities

3.1 The Principal ensures that the appropriate policies, procedures and audit protocols are in place and reviewed. This responsibility is delegated to the Fire Safety Officer. The Fire Safety Officer and Deputy Fire Safety Officers ensure that these policies and procedures are implemented and adhered to on a sustainable basis in their areas of strategic responsibility. This delegation would generally include both premises and administration managers.

3.2 The Fire Safety Officer responsibilities

3.2.1 The FSO is responsible for ensuring that the College complies with all relevant legislation and guidance.

3.2.2 Preparing and renewing fire risk assessments for all premises each year and ensuring that action plans resulting from these risk assessments are implemented. These risk assessments ensure, for example, that not only is the appropriate firefighting equipment in place but also that fire signage, door closers and emergency lighting are in proper order.

There are special risk assessments for the College labs and art rooms to ensure the proper storage of combustible materials.

3.2.3 Ensuring that all members of the Ashbourne community, employees, visitors, contractors comply with the arrangements made to control risk from fire hazards.

3.2.4 Ensuring that inspections are carried out on a daily, weekly, termly and yearly basis and that various control measures are in place to ensure their continued effectiveness. These inspections include:

  • Ensuring that the fire extinguishers are serviced every year by an external company.
  • Ensuring that the fire alarm system and detection is checked on a 6 monthly basis by Force Fire and certificates are stored securely on the College’s database system.
  • Ensuring that the emergency lights are checked once a month for a 1 hour test and every 6 months for a 3 hour test. 
  • Ensuring that the fire escape routes, fire extinguishers, fire panel, fire signage  and emergency lights are inspected on a daily basis. 
  • Ensuring that at random points in each two hour interval of the College day a member of the Fire Safety Team will tour each of our premises ensuring among other things that corridors and fire exits are clear and, to the best of their ability, that the firefighting equipment has not be tampered with. 

3.2.5 Ensuring that termly fire evacuation drills are arranged for all of the College premises. These are implemented by the Head of Premises and admin staff who are trained fire marshals.

3.2.6 Ensuring that the FSO and deputies have advanced training updated annually and that fire marshals have training which is updated at least every three years. All new staff and students must be inducted with basic training for fire safety to include: the location of the fire points, the fire exits and basic procedure in the event of a fire.

3.2.7 It is the FSO’s responsibility to ensure that all members of the Ashbourne community understand that they are expected to take care with all health and safety issues, including fire safety, and report any concerns they might have to the Head of Premises or one of the Senior Management Team. Any employees or students who undermine, or who are careless with, the proper provision of fire safety may expect to face disciplinary proceedings.

Members of the Ashbourne community are not expected to fight fires; firefighting equipment such as extinguishers and blankets (and the training necessary to use these devices properly) are provided only to assist in the escape from the premises on fire. In extreme circumstances, those members of staff trained in fire extinguisher use and with delegated fire safety responsibilities may choose to tackle small fires to save life or property. All others must act in accordance with the posted fire safety procedures and evacuate the premises immediately.

3.2.8 For out-of-hours events such as Parents’ Evenings or off site activities such as external examinations or the annual College revue, there is an additional responsibility to ensure that the premises are properly vetted for fire safety.

3.2.8. Ensuring that all combustible materials are properly stored with special regard to the College laboratories, art facilities and building and cleaning materials.

3.3 The College Administrators are responsible for the following:

3.3.1 Ensure that the fire marshal certificates have not expired and the certificates are kept up to date.

3.3.2 Implementing a fire marshal system is in place at the reception of all three premises.

3.3.3 Ensure the fire alarm system is tested weekly (Friday at 8.30am and 10.30am) at Old Court Place, weekly (Monday at 10.00am) at Young Street and weekly (Friday 8:00am) at Kensington Court to verify the system is operational. This is recorded in fire log books which are stored in Kensington Court by the Facilities Team.

 

Authorised by The Principal
Date November 2019
Effective date of the policy November 2019
Circulation Teaching staff / all staff / parents / Students on request
Review date September 2020