With the growth in the number of academy schools having control over their own budgets, the responsibility for fire safety has shifted well and truly onto the head teachers' shoulders.
Which means that they need to understand a Government document called the Fire Safety Order.
Unfortunately, it looks like a significant proportion of head teachers, governors and Responsible Persons aren't really sure what their fire safety obligations entail:
"As many as 10 per cent of academies do not have sufficient policies or procedures in place for health and safety"
Part of those new responsibilities include complying with the recommendations of the Fire Risk Assessment. And the consequences of getting these wrong can include the death or injury of staff, visitors or pupils plus a hefty fine or prison sentence.
With this in mind, it is almost incomprehensible that many Schools don't take advantage of the experience and guidance of a fire safety supplier who DOES understand the Fire Safety Order.
Often the Responsible Person is just unaware that there is a wrong or right choice of School fire safety systems installer.
In other cases, the Responsible Person knows that some of their quotes will have come from accredited suppliers but budget constraints mean that the decision is based on price alone.
The accredited professional will cost more than employing the local electrical contractor, so the less expensive option gets picked.
But there are some serious issues with this.
1. The Responsible Person assumes that less expensive installers will have the same level of knowledge as an accredited company - many electrical contractors don't understand the complexities of the Fire Safety Order either.
2. If it later transpires that your system doesn't comply with the Law, you'll have the added cost of replacing the system and paying much more than if you had made the right choice in the first place.
3. While you can delegate the work to a contractor, it's important to note that you'll still be responsible if things go wrong and it's found you used an unaccredited installer. As was mentioned earlier, the consequences of getting this wrong can include the death or injury of staff, visitors or pupils plus a hefty fine or prison sentence.
In short, by choosing the unaccredited contractor you're putting yourself at risk and could end up spending more than you need to.
Imagine a Fire Safety Inspector is surveying your school, could you put your hand on your heart and say your Fire Safety Systems were installed competently and comply with British Standards?
With the right installer you could.
Click the image below and download our free guide to see how you can choose the perfect supplier for your school's fire safety and security systems.