In the United States, an average of 6,650 structure fires occur annually in educational institutions where students attend during the day only.
These fires are responsible for approximately 90 injuries, fewer than 5 fatalities, and $90 million dollars in property loss.
Fires in New York State schools* * Based on information provided through NYS Fire Reporting System Year Number of Fires Loss 2005 553 $ 77,005 2006 580 $ 485,755 2007 424 $ 544,972 2008 436 $ 63,895 2009 396 $ 322,818 2010 351 $ 34,571
Only a small percentage of fire incidents in schools are reported to the fire department.
EVERY school fire shall be reported to the fire department no matter how small.
FC401.3 Emergency forces notification. In the event an unwanted fire occurs on a property, the owner or occupant shall immediately report such condition to the fire department. Building employees and tenants shall implement the appropriate emergency plans and procedures. No person shall, by verbal or written directive, require any delay in the reporting of a fire to the fire department.
Fire chief: Locked doors trapped students during blaze
While some of the 20 to 30 boys managed to flee the dormitories without incident, many were left banging on locked or otherwise obstructed doors near the school entrance. One door had a broken push bar; one was padlocked at the base; and two other doors were locked from the outside. The boys banged on the two sets of double doors until a man with a key appeared, unlocked a door and let the students out.
The fire chief, however, stood behind his comments that his firefighters found students pounding on the door trying to escape the burning two-story building , which includes dormitories, and that the locked doors endangered not only the students but also the firefighters responding to what's being called arson.
2-E-2 Emergency rescue windows are free of obstructing bars, screens, grills or classroom equipment….
FC1028.2 Reliability. Required exit accesses, exits or exit discharges shall be continuously maintained free from obstructions or impediments to full instant use in the case of fire or other emergency…
17-C-2 Curtains, drapes or decorations shall not be placed to obstruct exits or visibility thereof.
FC1028.5 Furnishings and decorations. Furnishings, decorations or other objects shall not be placed so as to obstruct exits, access thereto, egress therefrom, or visibility thereof. Hangings and draperies shall not be placed over exit doors or otherwise be located to conceal or obstruct an exit. Mirrors shall not be placed on exit doors. Mirrors shall not be placed in or adjacent to any exit in such a manner as to confuse the direction of exit.
Items placed in hallways obstructing egress (17-A-3) FC1028.5 Furnishings and decorations. Furnishings, decorations or other objects shall not be placed so as to obstruct exits, access thereto, egress there from, or visibility thereof.
14-C-2 Doors with closers are not rendered inoperable by removal of the closer or the installation of any non-automatic hold open device
PMC703.2 Opening Protectives. Required opening protectives shall be maintained in an operative condition. All fire and smokestop doors shall be maintained in operable condition. Fire doors and smoke barrier doors shall not be blocked or obstructed or otherwise made inoperable.
FC901.6 Inspection, testing and maintenance. Fire detection, alarm and extinguishing systems shall be maintained in an operative condition at all times, and shall be replaced or repaired where defective.
FCNYS 907.20.5 The building owner shall be responsible for ensuring that the fire and life safety systems are maintained in an operable condition at all times.
PMCNYS 704.1 General. All systems, devices and equipment to detect a fire, actuate an alarm, or suppress or control a fire or any combination thereof shall be maintained in an operable condition at all times in accordance with the Fire Code of New York State .
9-G-2 Fueled equipment shall not be stored, operated, or repaired within a building
FC 313.1 Fueled equipment. Fueled equipment, including but not limited to motorcycles, mopeds, lawn-care equipment and portable cooking equipment, shall not be stored, operated or repaired within a building.
15-D-2 Curtains, drapes, hangings and other decorative materials suspended from walls or ceilings shall be fire resistive or non-combustible.
807.1 General requirements. In occupancies in Groups A, E, I and R-1 and dormitories in Group R-2, curtains, draperies, hangings and other decorative materials suspended from walls or ceilings shall meet the flame propagation performance criteria of NFPA 701 in accordance with Section 806.2 or be noncombustible.
BC 410.3.6 Scenery. Combustible materials used in sets and scenery shall meet the fire propagation criteria of NFPA 701, in accordance with Section 806 and the Fire Code of New York State . Foam plastics and materials containing foam plastics shall comply with Section 2603 and the Fire Code of New York State .
Wood Construction and flammable decorations not permitted.
Anything that is constructed of flammable materials must be flame treated.
FC807.1 General. In occupancies of Groups A, E, I and R-1 and dormitories in Group R-2, curtains, draperies, hangings and other decorative materials suspended from walls or ceilings shall be flame resistant in accordance with Section 806.2 and NFPA 701 or be noncombustible.
Awareness of, and concern for fire and life safety
It must come from the demonstrated attitude of the school board and top school administrators.
When these individuals refuse to tolerate unsafe practices or conditions, and insist on a continuing program for fire safety in the schools, building administrators, their staff and students will follow their lead.
Awareness of, and concern for fire and life safety cont.
When all building occupants are alert for fire hazards, and act to correct hazards as soon as they are discovered, a higher level of fire and life safety can be maintained throughout the year.
FC907.1 FIRE ALARM AND DETECTION SYSTEMS. This section covers the application, installation, performance and maintenance of fire alarm systems and their components in new and existing buildings and structures.
Buckman Heights Elementary School Fire Fire rated door to the principals office. Closed during the fire.
Buckman Heights Elementary School Fire Principal’s office showing limited damage as a result of the fire rated door.
Buckman Heights Elementary School Fire Office supply storage door. Fire rated door left open the night of the fire.
Buckman Heights Elementary School Fire Kodak copier and data network. Copier and all wiring is not salvageable.