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Consequences of Fire Damage in Schools
By the RestorationSOS Educational Staff
Arson is the most common culprit in school fires, followed closely by classroom experiments gone wrong. Either way, school fire damage is serious business, and may have lingering effects.
The damage to the school building itself is the most obvious effect of fire damage, since school buildings may be seriously compromised or even destroyed in the process. Damage to the school building may result in it becoming uninhabitable for an extended period of time, meaning that the school will have to find alternative locations in which to hold classes, or temporarily transfer students to other schools until the fire damage has been repaired.
If the school's administrative area is in the location of the fire, problems are compounded due to the potential loss of student records and other important files. While some computer files may be recovered, this is typically a project requiring months to complete. Fires occurring during the summer can wreak havoc with the start of a new school year, namely getting students registered and working out schedules.
Because most schools are so large, fires rarely engulf the entire facility, but even fires that remain concentrated in one area may have lingering effects elsewhere with smoke and soot being transferred to all areas of the school through the air and ventilation system. Smoke damage can have serious effects on furniture, carpeting, computers, cafeterias, and science labs.
Other Effects of Fire Damage in Schools
Most schools are equipped with sprinkler systems which can also cause water damage. Water damage of any type sets the stage for subsequent problems such as mold. Untreated mold may make the school a health hazard even after the fire damage has been cleaned up.
Another effect of school fires is that found among students and staff. Studies show that staff morale takes a serious dip in the days and weeks following a school fire and student performance is likely to suffer in the aftermath as well. This is the main reason why school systems need to have a contingency plan in place in the event of a fire. This plan should be designed to initiate repair and restoration service as soon as possible, as well as providing a means for lessons and classes to continue even throughout the repair process.