Back to School Safety Basics: Fire and Health Hazards

by | Jan 20, 2023 | Back to School Safety Basics, Gary's Blog

School safety is not just Active Shooters. School personnel needs to be trained in all hazards. Security and Vulnerability Assessments (SVAs) can be used to identify both risks and best practices in a school. Once risks are identified, an abatement plan can be developed to eliminate and mitigate risks.

In this final post of the Back to School Safety Basics series, I’m encouraging my readers to review the fire prevention measures in place at your school, and review these measures and practices with local first responders.  

By working with first responders, you can develop short one-page guideline documents for building principals, custodians, and teachers to reference to keep their classrooms safe.  Not only does this promote increased building familiarity for first responders, you will be able to uniform and standardize these guidelines within your district regardless of what fire department(s) your buildings are located in within your jurisdiction.  This also provides clear guidelines for custodians and teachers to follow.  Scroll down to preview the Fire and Health Department Guideline document available for you to download for free.  I worked with the South-Western City School District and their local first responders to create this, and am pleased to share an adapted version for your use.

Remember, don’t overlook the simple, low-cost high-return steps in promoting a safe environment.  

Below are a few common fire and general health hazards found on school property:

Despite the colorful and welcoming atmosphere they provide, in non-sprinkler buildings like this one, combustibles should not be within 24 inches of the ceiling or within 18 inches of a light fixture.


Fire codes state that combustible or flammable materials must not be placed on or above an egress door.



Vehicles should be parked at least 25 feet away from the building to prevent the potential spread of a vehicle fire to the building.

The curb is only a few inches tall and does not provide adequate protection for pedestrians.

It is suggested that bollards be put in place to prevent vehicles from driving on sidewalks, potentially injuring students, staff, and visitors.

CLICK HERE to download your copy of this Fire and Health Department Guidelines document to serve as a guide for your next meeting with local first responders.

What is a basic measure of security you enforce in your school?

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