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School Security During School Holidays

School Security During School Holidays

School security during school holidays can be a concern for many site managers and heads as they prepare for long periods of an empty site.

Vandalism, theft, and arson are some of the crimes that arise during the school holidays as disgruntled students and opportunistic thieves take advantage of an empty building.

Even if you have estates staff on-site during the holidays there are times when your school security is compromised. Evenings, nights and weekends see the schools vulnerable, as do bank holidays.

Even with some on-site staff, there will inevitably be areas of the school that are abandoned and vulnerable. Schools are, after all, large and often sprawling sites. Keeping every corner of the site secure takes more than having a couple of people roaming the area.

Let's have a look at some of the essential school security steps you should take before you close for the holidays.

 school building for blog by Mayfair Fire and Security on School Security During School Holidays

Secure The Site Boundary

A few weeks before you break up for holidays you should walk the perimeter of the school. Meticulously look for any easy areas of access or weakness.

Broken or damaged gates and fences, obvious footholds, and fences that can be easily cut or climbed (such as chainmail or bushes) should all be remedied as soon as possible.

Also, keep an eye out for any hinges or bolts that could be used as footholds to enable someone to jump the fence.

Checking the fence a few weeks before the holidays gives you time to fix any problems you spot. Be sure to check the perimeter again a couple of days before the holidays begin to be certain no damage has occurred since they were fixed.

School security requires consistent and regular vigilance!

Trim Overgrown Vegetation

Overgrown vegetation, such as trees, bushes and weeds, should all be trimmed back a week or so before school holidays start.

Pay particular attention to areas where trees grow in from offsite, such as overhanging branches from other people’s gardens, as these can be used to gain access to the site.

Consider the fire hazard presented by overgrown vegetation, too. Hot weather can quickly dry out brambles and other vegetation, especially if it has been there for a long time. This can catch and spread a fire quickly.

Overgrown vegetation can also compromise school security by giving cover from security staff and cameras. Intruders can easily hide under overgrown bushes.

Check External Lighting

Security lighting is one of the most effective ways to deter opportunistic thieves, according to this survey from the Co-OP.

A good school security strategy has external security lights fitted around the exterior of the building and lights on timers on the interior.

Before you break up for a school holiday, check all the bulbs are working and the lights are pointing to the right areas.

image of empty classroom for blog by Mayfair Fire and Security on School Security During School Holidays

Move Potential Fire Hazards Away From The Building

Make sure any potential fire hazards have been moved well away from the buildings, at least by 8 meters.

This includes large bings, skips, and minibuses.

Make sure you have asked contractors to keep their skips and debris well away from the buildings, too.

Remove Any Potential Missiles

Check the site before the holidays start for any loose debris or potential missiles.

Stones, bits of wood, old furniture and plant pots can all be used as missiles to damage the buildings.

A broken window is a headache for you, access for thieves or squatters, and an invitation for more broken windows.

Similarly, try to ensure skips and bins are emptied or chained up to prevent people taking things out to use as a missile.

Lock The Windows And Skylights

The very last thing you should check on site is that all the windows and skylights are locked and secured.

Not only do locked windows help to deter a thief but many insurance policies expect it.

An open skylight is easy to miss from the inside but can stand out clearly to a thief looking for access on the roof.

Have Your Alarm Serviced

Before you break up, call out a professional to service your intruder alarm and fire alarm.

A well-serviced alarm is more likely to operate as it should, activating when any window or door is compromised or any sensor is triggered.

Keeping your alarm well serviced and maintained reduces the likelihood of false alarms, too, which can be annoying during the school holidays and damage the overall efficacy of the school security system.

Engage A Security Patrol Or Keyholder Service

A keyholder service or security patrol can be an extremely useful part of a school security strategy.

Not only does it give you peace of mind, but it guarantees a quick response in the event of an incident or alarm activation.

A trained security professional will come out and stay on site until the police or fire brigade arrives. They will help to secure the site. Find out more about our keyholding services here.

image of empty lecture hall for blog by Mayfair Fire and Security on School Security During School Holidays

Communicate A Holiday Access Policy

Make sure all the staff know how and when they are safely allowed in the building. Not only does this keep them safe, but it helps estate staff know when to set alarms and when to be suspicious of noises or movement.

Visiting staff should know which areas of the school are off bounds, who to call if they spot a problem, and that they should securely lock up their offices and classrooms when they leave.

Secure Valuables Out Of View

Opportunistic thieves or vandals will be attracted by any valuables left on show. Technology is the obvious one.

Move computers away from windows, draw blinds, and lock supplies up in cupboards.

Book A Site School Security Survey

Here at Mayfair Fire and Security we are accredited, trained, and experienced in all areas of site security.

We would be more than happy to come out and assess your site to help get it ready for the holidays.

Just call us on 0800 917 9385, fill out our contact form here or email  sales@mayfairsecurity.co.uk.

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