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No fire alarm system and we're still open

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by ickle_linz, Jan 14, 2011.

  1. Just wondered what your opinion on this is,

    I work at a large school over 2 floors and we we're told earlier in the week that we our fire alarm system is not working and hasn't been since the start of term.
    When I asked the site manager about when it was getting fixed he said 'when the claim money comes through' (the alarm is out of action due to a burst pipe over Christmas)
    We haven't told the children the systems out and we have been told a hand bell will be rung in the event of a fire.
    I also found out today that the kitchen staff hadn't even been told that the fire alarms out! Is it just me or is this a bit of a joke!
  2. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    I can't believe that it isn't possible at least to have a temporary siren of some sort, so that even if you haven't got all the usual alarm points, you have got something which is guaranteed to be heard across the site once the alarm is raised. A hand bell sounds inadequate.
  3. rosievoice

    rosievoice Star commenter

    Contact your local fire station. All fire services have fire safety/fire prevention officers who may be able to give general advice without you having to identify your school. Fire services are not permitted to "drop in" and do surprise school inspections as they can with factories. They must be invited.
  4. ihatemondays

    ihatemondays New commenter

    The question is ickle_linz, would you be happy for your children or family to be in a building all day without a fire alarm system. I know I would not! I hope your SMT have sorted it out now.
  5. Funnily enough, I was having this conversation with someone in our school the other day...an electrician had managed to trip out the fire alarm circuit - so it was working on back up batteries, which apparently last for quite a few hours.

    It was this guys understanding that if the back up batteries failed, the kids would have to be sent home - they can't be in the building without a working fire alarm. Not gospel, by any means - but it kind of makes sense really, I suppose.

    It's the same if someone breaks the glass on a fire alarm switch - you can't re-enter the building until the glass is replaced, as if there was a fire - someone wouldn't be able to raise the alarm. This happened at another place of work, and we were waiting out in the cold for hours.
  6. Cosmic_Rainbow

    Cosmic_Rainbow New commenter

    i dont think i would be happy to have a school full of children without alarms. perhaps you could start a petition with other members of staff and refuse to teach untill the alarms are fixed.

    depends how strongly you feel about the situation but im sure if the local paper was aware of this then the alarms would be fixed pretty sharpish *hint hint*
  7. It isn't the best thing to go behind people's backs and get the press involved - it is very likely that you would end up being found out. As it seems almost certain that not having a working fire alarm is ilegal, try and get some concrete evidence on this and present this to your HT. (info from health and safety executive, fire brigade, your LEA/ council and of course your union - who may be able to help with whistleblowing). Also, you only mention speaking to your caretaker, has noone gone to see the head at all?
    If there was a fire and someone was hurt, you would be blaming yourself forever for not trying to do something about the situation.

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