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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

The Common Causes of Fires in Schools | SERVPRO® of Downtown Charleston

1/24/2022 (Permalink)

If there are any groups of people who need extra attention when it comes to fire prevention, they would be groups which may need special care in the event of a fire—the elderly, those with developmental healthcare needs and children.

So it goes without saying that leaders of school and educational environments, in which children are gathered daily in large groups, should pay careful attention to fire prevention protocols and be aware of common causes of fires in those facilities, in order that they may work toward education and prevention in the future.

A recently published five-year study by the National Fire Protection Association details, among other things, the top causes of fires in educational facilities. During the study period, there were an average of more than 3,000 fires per year in these facilities, resulting in an average of more than 38 million dollars per year in damages. And while those numbers may be big, the causes of these fires are few, indicating that a select number of fire safety areas need attention.

Let’s start small. The least common occurrence of school fires, at 10%, is from heating equipment. These fires are responsible for less than 10% of injuries and less than 5% of direct damage to property.

These would be fires directly occurring from heaters and other high-temperature devices, as opposed to the next most common fire type—the 19% of fires that start because of heating sources being toyed with. These indirect fires could be caused by students laying paper on or near a radiator, or other accidental mishaps involving heating equipment. The accidental distinction is important as well, as we’ll soon see.

The next most common source of fire is the worldwide top contender for most common fire cause—cooking. Cooking fires are responsible for 31% of fires in educational facilities, though they only result in a small percentage of property damage or injuries.

This leads us to our top cause of school fires. Have you guessed it? It may surprise you to learn that the No. 1 cause of fires in educational facilities, clocking in at an occurrence rate of 43%, is fires being set on purpose. These range in intent, but the damage they cause is undeniable—purposeful fires cause six out of every 10 fire-related injuries, and more than half of all fire-related property damage.

So what have we learned today, class? Our biggest takeaway may be that, while the overall number of annual school fires has decreased over the last two decades, we must continue to educate students about the danger of playing with and starting fires, and the threats they pose to property and, more importantly, human life.

When fires affect educational facilities, SERVPRO is on the scene to rebuild and restore. Contact SERVPRO to get the industry leaders on your side for fire recovery.

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