Printer Friendly

Fire safety norms flouted by schools.

MUSCAT:A Whether it's the very recent school fire in West Philadelphia that has left nearly 400 students badly affected or the 2004 school inferno in a southern state of India that took lives of 90 children, the issue on fire raises a pertinent concern. How fire-safe are our schools

Talking about Oman, a recent incident that took place in one of the well-known schools (name withheld) in town has put the focus on the fire safety measures that are lacking in many schools and educational institutions here.

Recently, a car belonging to student's parent suddenly caught fire and the school was unable to provide a single fire extinguisher to douse the flames. Eyewitnesses said that passersby had to use the fire extinguishers of their vehicles until the arrival of fire engines.A The Civil Defence was prompt enough to extinguish the flames and no causalities were reported.

It is believed that majority of fire accidents, especially in the schools, happen as the institutions in the Sultanate flout (even the basic) fire safety norms to a large extent. It is been noted that many schools, especially the government ones, do not even keep fire extinguishers.

A similar accident in town took place three years ago when a school's storeroom caught fire and there were no fire extinguishers at hand. This goes on to prove that the authorities concerned have not learnt a lesson from the mishaps.

No budget

An official of a school, requesting anonymity, said that his school doesn't have a sufficient budget to buy fire extinguishers. "Besides, most schools here in the Sultanate do not have fire safety sprinkler system. That increases the danger."

It is also noticed that in most schools fire extinguishers are kept beyond their expiry dates without being refilled.

"Over time the seal on the neck will weaken and allow compressed gas to escape so it is a must that the concerned authorities must replace the extinguishers often," a fire safely expert warns.

"Extinguishers that have lost pressure will not operate because of lack of maintenance."

He added that many school buildings lack basic facilities like ventilation, fire extinguishers and proper exit points to be used during an emergency.

Also, a teacher advised that the ministry should train students and teachers on how to evacuate the school in case of a fire. It was also indicated that the students often panic creating further chaos owing to lack of awareness.

Parents should urge the school authorities to install fire extinguishers that are in working condition and sprinklers should be fixed in all schools of the Sultanate to ensure that safety of students is not compromised, emphasised the expert.

Last year in Qatar a company, which is a leader in fire-safety equipment, supplies and security solutions, was awarded a contract for the inspection, installation and repair of fire-safety systems in many schools and kindergartens throughout the country to ensure that all the locations meet stringent international standards.

Over 6,000 fire extinguishers were to be replaced, serviced or repaired. Its time schools in Oman too take this issue seriously.

Muscat Press and Publishing House SAOC 2011

Provided by an company
COPYRIGHT 2011 Al Bawaba (Middle East) Ltd.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2011 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:Times of Oman (Muscat, Oman)
Date:Jan 17, 2011
Previous Article:Royal Jet to offer luxury private charter service.
Next Article:Call for fixing minimum wage for expat workers.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2021 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters