Nobody ever thinks it will happen to them…a fire in their home, school, or workplace.  But according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated annual average of 5,690 structure fires in educational properties between 2007 and 2011.  I’ve written many times about how important it is to sleep with your bedroom door closed, and of course fire doors must be closed and latched during a fire in order to help compartmentalize the building.  But there is value in taking a moment to close doors to classrooms, offices, and other spaces when the room or facility is not in use.

This news report about a school fire in Bethel, Alaska illustrates the benefit of closed classroom doors during a fire.  Closing the door is one simple step that can be included as part of the procedure for fire drills, and at the end of each day.  It could mean the difference between losing an entire classroom full of furniture and supplies, or protecting that classroom from most of the effects of the fire.

In many schools, the classroom doors are not required to be fire-rated.  This classroom appears to have a fire door assembly, but even a non-rated door would likely provide some level of protection…

Kilbuk inside 01 - 20151124  Kilbuk inside 03 - 20151124

For more photos from this fire, click here to read the article in the Alaska Dispatch News.

Photos: Dan Walker

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