ERIC Number: EJ919660
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-May
Reference Count: 0
How Safe Is Safe?
American School & University, v82 n10 p30-33 May 2010
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 130,000 elementary and secondary schools, and about 4,200 higher-education institutions operate across the country. These learning centers educate an estimated 75 million children and adults each year. From a numbers standpoint alone, it is obvious that providing adequate fire- and life-safety protection is critical to the well-being of a multitude of students. Unfortunately, what should be a unified effort to increase the level of fire protection in schools and universities often causes dissension among facility managers, code writers and other building-industry professionals. The debate centers on the issue of sprinkler systems and whether they provide sufficient protection against fire, or if specialty fire-resistant building materials also are needed. A thorough fire-protection plan includes both. As part of active protection, sprinklers help slow or stop fires from spreading. Passive systems, or fire-resistant materials, provide around-the-clock, backup protection if sprinklers fail to perform. They also divide buildings into compartments to slow the spread of flames and smoke, enabling occupants extra time to escape. Incorporating one type of system without the other is short-changing safety. A look at the benefits of each system, how they interact with each other and the importance of incorporating specialty fire-rated materials to meet the unique needs of education facilities helps demonstrate the value of providing a balanced fire-protection plan.
Descriptors: Fire Protection, School Safety, Child Safety, School Buildings, Educational Facilities Improvement
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A