A fire in a school is every teacher, student, and parent’s worst nightmare. All schools have rigorous and thorough fire prevention procedures in place, but with so many flammable substances present in schools; such as upholstery, cleaning products and of course paper, the risk of a fire is ever present.
Did you know?
Although many schools have specially designated fire safety officers, ultimately the fire safety responsibilities for every school lie with the head teacher.
It is the duty of the head teacher to ensure that fire risk assessments have been carried out across all school buildings and consult all employees about the risks identified along with the measures taken to prevent fires.
The BB100 states that, “With schools that are maintained by the Local Authority (LA), responsibility for fire safety is usually shared between the authority, the governing body and the head teacher. The LA usually has responsibility for alarm systems and the structural fire integrity of buildings, while the governing body and the head teacher are responsible for the day-to-day running of the school and the management of all systems including those for fire safety.” (Department for Children, Schools and Families 2007)
Head teachers must consider the presence of any dangerous substances on site and ensure that necessary precautions have been taken in order to account for, and reduce, any fire risks within the school. Potential fire hazards such as upholstery and furnishings must be considered when carrying out a risk assessment and one way in which to reduce the flammability of classroom furniture is to ensure that it has fire retardant properties.
Wall linings, including notice boards, are subject to European testing for Reaction to Fire. Fire rated boards are tested against EN13501-1:2007+A1:2009. The classification of a board is split into three parts:
1. Class B- The main classification. A1 is the highest classification and means the material is entirely non-combustible. Class B indicates the structural element is difficult to ignite.
2. s1-The smoke classification. s1 is the highest classification and indicates a very low amount of combustion gasses emitted from the structural element.
3. d0- The flaming droplet classification. d0 is the highest classification and means there are no burning droplets or particles emitted from the structural element.
Buying Fire Safe Noticeboards
In order to satisfy the requirements of the classification, boards must have been tested as a composite panel. This means it is not sufficient for the separate components of the board (e.g. just the fabric) to be individually fire rated.
Once the fabric has been compromised by flame (or torn/damaged) the core of the board becomes fuel feeding the spread of flame. A fire rated fabric covering will not prevent a combustible pin board core from exacerbating the surface spread of flame.
Check if Your Boards are Safe
Existing Sundeala fire rated notice boards can be identified by removing the board from the wall and checking the back of the board. If there is red printing visible on the board, the board is from the FRB range.
New fire rated notice boards purchased directly from Sundeala (or Sundeala Ltd T/A TeacherBoards) will have a clear identifying sticker on the surface of the board, indicating the fire rating. Up to date fire certificates can be downloaded from our websites.
If your boards are from a different manufacturer, please contact your supplier immediately for identification procedures and EN13501-1 fire test certification.
Department for Children, Schools and Families. 2007. Building Bulletin 100: Design for fire safety in schools. London: Home Office.