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Towards the design and operation of fire safe school facilities

Mohammad A. Hassanain (Architectural Engineering Department, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia)

Disaster Prevention and Management

ISSN: 0965-3562

Article publication date: 1 October 2006




The objectives of this paper are to present an assessment for the consideration of fire safety during the design stages of school facilities in Saudi Arabia; and to present the development of a fire risk assessment survey tool whereby existing school facilities can be evaluated for the purpose of identifying and eliminating fire hazards, and meeting the minimum requirements of current legislation.


The paper classifies the factors that make school facilities a high‐risk type of buildings to fire; reviews causes of fires in schools and identifies potential high‐risk areas to fires in school facilities; and reviews design and operation factors controlling fire severity.


Investigating the consideration for fire safety in the design phase of public school facilities in Saudi Arabia indicated that the design office at the Ministry of Education is active in providing the following fire safety requirements: fire detection and notification systems including smoke detectors and fire alarms; fire suppression and extinguishing systems including automatic sprinkler systems, standpipe and hose system and portable fire extinguishers; and means of egress and evacuation systems including exit doors, emergency lighting and directional signs. The fire risk assessment survey tool developed in this paper consists of 61 items to assess fire protection equipment, exitways/stairs, interior decorations/interior finish integrity, fire hydrants and lanes, electrical wiring, laboratories, and maintenance measures.


The paper provides practical value to design professionals of school projects and school staff and facilities managers responsible for the day‐to‐day operation of school facilities.



Hassanain, M.A. (2006), "Towards the design and operation of fire safe school facilities", Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 15 No. 5, pp. 838-846.



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Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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