Fire safety and security advice for partially open schools

With schools continuing to be partially open to accommodate children of essential key workers operating in the current Coronavirus pandemic, alongside vulnerable pupils, the Department for Education (DoE) has updated advice to ensure the safety and security of buildings.

In the latest Government guidance, schools are being urged to review arrangements for all building-related systems, with a focus on fire safety and security, including access control, CCTV and intruder alarm systems.

Fire Safety

Schools are being advised to update fire management plans and ensure any changes to fire escape routes are clearly identified and communications.

Whilst less staff and children in schools, the advice is to:

  • Carry out weekly checks of alarm systems, call points and emergency lighting
  • Carry out regular hazard spotting to identify escape route obstructions
  • Check that all fire doors are operational

Fire drills should continue to be held as normal.

Further advice on fire safety for when schools do reopen following the lengthy closure, is to ensure all fire doors, fire alarm systems and emergency lights are operational.


The DoE guidelines highlight how during this period, all areas of the school should be kept secure.

It adds, “access to certain closed areas should only be possible by relevant staff – for example, science laboratories, chemical stores and IT rooms.  Check that access control and lockdown systems are optional.”

In a further section, on ‘other points to consider,’ Government highlights core building-related electrical systems that should remain in ‘normal operating mode; including CCTV, access control and alarm systems. Keyholder information should also be kept updated.

Says Jamie Allam, CEO Amthal Fire & Security: “Schools that remain partially opened to continue vital work to care for our key workers’ children, and vulnerable pupils must be able to deliver essential education and support services, with peace of mind that buildings are fire safe and secure.

“Amthal is working closely with schools, to offer dedicated advice and response systems, including assessments on site where required (and practicing self-distancing) to ensure fire detection systems and security solutions are fully operational.  We want to make sure all our schools get the help they need over this challenging time, including when the call is made to ensure a safe and secure return for all staff and pupils.”