How to protect your school

Actions to take on school closure for holidays

  1. Fully check the security of all buildings and make sure all windows are secured and doors locked;
  2. Ensure that all taps or water sources are turned off;
  3. Make sure any damaged or broken windows are repaired;
  4. Remove or immobilise all “wheelie bins” or other portable equipment;
  5. Ensure there is no rubbish piled against the outside of buildings or under verandahs;
  6. Ensure that all fire alarms are set and monitored at all times;
  7. Ensure any monitored intruder alarm is set and operational;
  8. Lock all valuable portable equipment especially computers, videos, TV’s and audio items away in a secure, monitored room. Do not leave in sight of any would be burglars;
  9. Ensure all external gates are locked (if possible) – but also make sure you know who has the keys in case the Fire Service needs access;
  10. Ask any friendly neighbours to keep an eye on the school and ask the local Police to “drive by” occasionally;
  11. Update your list of all telephone numbers of all staff in case of an emergency;
  12. Ensure all electrical appliances are turned off – preferably fully unplugged.

During the holidays

  1. Ensure some responsible parent, teacher, employee or security company regularly checks the school grounds during the day, at night and on weekends;
  2. Discourage any use of the grounds by any skateboarders or others;
  3. Ensure use of any school swimming pool is monitored and adults are in attendance. Enforce key/access control;
  4. Make sure school grounds are still maintained (e.g. lawns mowed) to avoid looking abandoned;
  5. Discourage any letting out of any premises during the holidays;
  6. Have a “telephone tree” of people to contact in case of any disaster during the holidays;
  7. Avoid, if possible, having contractors or tradesmen on site, unsupervised, during the holidays.

Fire Hoses

It is important that water from a leaking fire hose can drain to the outside of a building. Extensive water damage can occur when water leaking from a fire hose cabinet is able to run down the wall and under the floor. Also, it is not unknown for students to turn on fire hoses in wall cabinets and for the damage not to be discovered until sometime later. A daily check on fire hoses in schools is recommended.

The alternative to providing fire hose reels is to use fire extinguishers. The New Zealand Fire Service can provide advice on the most suitable extinguishers to use and where they should be placed around the school.

If your school is considering replacing the fire hose reels with extinguishers, it is not simply a matter of physically taking them away. Fire hose reels are included on a school’s “Building Compliance Schedule” and removal is deemed an “alteration” under the Building Act. Removal therefore requires building consent from your local Territorial Authority. Argest Technical Services, our Warrant of Fitness contractor is available on 0800 274 378, to help schools through this process.

For more information on fire safety in schools refer to the “Fire Safety and Design Guidelines” under Property Management on the Ministry of Education website at, or contact the New Zealand Fire Service.