All Education Institutions must activate fire safety and security committees for staff and learners according to the new fire safety guidelines issued by police. All classes, departments and independent units must be represented on the committees. The major role of the committees will be to draw up and oversee implementation of safety and security policy for the respective institutions.
The new guidelines are contained in a circular issued by the Inspector General of Police Martins Okot Ochola.
In the guidelines schools should build perimeter fences high enough to prevent illegal entry and exit, install CCTV cameras and alarms, have fire fighting equipments for example portable extinguishers, hose reels, fire hydrant, buckets filled with dry sand and water placed in strategic areas, trained fire wardens selected amongst the teaching staff, support staff and students and have a fire detection system.
All visitors must be registered, dormitories must have guards, proper identification of all the people at the school ascertained, restricted entry to key installations like student dormitories, kitchen, water sources, food stores and specific teachers and students to be in charge of security at the schools operating on 24 hour basis.
Other include, keeping school dormitories under lock and effectively guarded when students are in class, confine sick students in sick bays or selected holding areas and conduct regular and snap checks of the students’ possessions and key installations to be able to detect dangerous materials like match boxes, inflammables, acids and drugs before they may be used by some undisciplined students.
These guidelines come at time of rampant fires in education institutions. Between January and June 2022, a total of 40 fire outbreak incidents took place in 39 schools and institutions, in which 7 lives of learners were lost.
Investigations established that 17 of these fires were intentionally (deliberately) set, 4 as a result of negligence, 4 accidental (electric short circuit)
The causes of the other15 fire incidents have not been established.
The criminal conduct of students to settle personal scores in reaction to disciplinary action by school administration or as a result of quarrels among students and copycat by students in one school or the other doing what they have heard done in another school are cited as the causes of intentional or fires.