Factors influencing implementation of fire disaster risk reduction in public secondary schools in Nyandarua south District, Kenya
Fire in schools are a public concern because of the increased incidences, injuries and deaths of innocent students not to mention the destruction caused by the fire to the school buildings such as the dormitories and classrooms. Preparedness to fire disaster will help to minimize loss of lives, property and learning time. The purpose of this study was to investigate factors influencing implementation of fire disaster risk reduction in the secondary schools in Nyandarua South District. The study was guided by the following objectives; to determine the extent to which school buildings have been built in accordance with policy provisions pertaining fire disaster reduction, to determine the extent to which the training of principals, teachers and students on fire disaster risk reduction has influenced implementation of fire disaster risk reduction measures in public secondary schools, to establish the availability of firefighting facilities for disasters within school premises in Nyandarua South District and to establish ways in which public secondary schools have put in place fire safety plans as a measure of fire disaster risk reduction preparedness in Nyandarua South District. The research adopted a descriptive survey design. The target population for this study consisted of all public secondary schools in Nyandarua South District. This study employed stratified sampling technique to obtain the sample population. Data was collected by means of questionnaires administered to the principals, teachers and students of the sampled schools and an observation schedule. Data collected from respondents was analysed through descriptive statistics. The results were presented using frequency tables. Based on the findings of the study, the firefighting equipments in most schools were not enough and were rarely inspected contributing to fire disaster risk reduction unpreparedness. In relation to school buildings and fire safety, most schools had made some effort to improve fire disaster preparedness but they still need to do better. On safety plans most schools were not prepared in fire disaster risk reduction because emergence plans for fire disaster in schools were at most average. Most schools had only one assembly point while the majority had none. Most schools did not remind the immediate stakeholders of the evacuation plans. On training in fire disaster risk reduction, most school stakeholders were not trained including the principals. Fire drills were not also carried out. Based on the findings of the study, the study recommended that school management should consider adding the fire fighting equipments to make them adequate and they should always be inspected to make sure they are functional. It was also recommended that fire extinguishers should be easily accessible, windows should not be grilled, exits should be cleared of obstructions, fire extinguishers should be enough and doors should open outwards. In addition, principles, teachers, non-teaching staff and students should be made aware of evacuation plans, fire assembly points should be identified and stakeholders notified, schools should have fire alert procedures and should have many assembly points in case of fire. Finally, all principals should be trained on fire disaster risk reduction. There should also be regular fire drills conducted in schools. The study suggested that a similar study be carried out in other areas in Kenya to check on fire disaster risk reduction in school as cases of fire disasters are on the rise in Kenya.