The Top Causes of Fires in Schools


According to the National Fire Protection Association's (NFPA) most recent five-year study on building fires in U.S. schools, there were 212 injuries from 2013 to 2017 — a 32 percent decrease from the previous five years. When you consider that over 16,500 school fires were recorded within that time period, they are impressive figures. Each year, school fires cost the economy $42 million in direct property damage. While schools obviously do a great job of keeping students safe from fire, the communities they serve bear a tremendous financial burden in the event of a fire.

This post will highlight some of the main findings from the NFPA report in order to assist people in better understand the causes of school fires.

Equipment for Cooking

Cooking equipment fires were the second most common cause of school fires, but they caused considerably less property damage than fires caused by other sources. The presence of kitchen and other personnel in schools is likely to distinguish cooking-related fires in schools from those in homes, where cooking fires are more likely to inflict damage if left unattended. The majority of fires started by cooking items were small, according to the study. This fact emphasizes the significance of making sure that Hood suppression systems and portable fire extinguishers are installed in school kitchens, and both are regularly examined and maintained.

Playing With Fire Sources

Playing with lighters and matches is responsible for a substantial number of school fires in both elementary and secondary schools. Unsurprisingly, the frequency of injuries caused by these fires is considerably higher in primary schools, where children are less likely to grasp the possible hazards or what to do to protect themselves if they start a fire by accident. In elementary schools, playing with a heat source was responsible for 29% of injuries, while in middle and high schools, fires caused by these actions resulted in 19% of all injuries.

Equipment for Heating

Every year, one out of every ten school fires is caused by heating equipment. Contained fuel burners or boilers, permanent and portable space heaters, central heating systems, water heaters, and other forms of heating equipment were all involved in these fires. While fires caused by portable space heaters may be avoided by paying closer attention to where they are placed and how they are used, the majority of other fires caused by heating equipment might indicate a lack of maintenance and repair of school equipment or infrastructure.

These fires generate a significant amount of direct property damage when compared to the other main causes of school fires. The NFPA study, which costs an average of $2 million each year, serves as a sobering reminder that an ounce of prevention may go a long way in keeping both children and schools safe when it comes to fire.

Fire Watch Guards will notify you when new reports containing insights and information that you can utilize to help keep your schools safe from fire and security concerns are released. The Fire and Security team understands the specific problems of maintaining safety and security in a school setting and provides comprehensive protection from a single source.

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