It will soon be summer, the time when facilities staff takes advantage of unoccupied buildings to do deep cleaning, repairs and maintenance. It’s also a time that presents an increased risk for theft, arson and vandalism. The following are safety and maintenance hints to keep in mind as summer nears:
- Require all teachers, teacher aides, school secretaries, coaches, and other personnel to return their key before they leave for the summer. If any staff has legitimate reasons for keeping keys during the summer, record their names and reasons for keeping the key.
- Inspect all facilities and document the inspections. This should include stage areas, auditoriums, bleachers and grandstands. Correct any deficiencies found during inspections.
- Help reduce the possibility of fire or electrical damage by turning off the gas to unused locations. Close all gas valves, including pilot lights and do not forget the ones in the science labs and welding classrooms. Unplug all electric appliances and equipment that will not be used during the summer (including computers).
- Store moveable equipment out of the line-of-sight from exterior windows or in a secure area, preferably in rooms without windows. If equipment cannot be moved, close curtains or blinds. Inventory the equipment and permanently mark the district’s name on each piece.
- Plan for and schedule testing, inspection and maintenance of fire alarms, fire sprinkler systems and fire extinguishers.
- Check all lighting, inside and out. Periodically check night lighting to ensure it is functioning properly. Remember to include illuminated exit signs and emergency lighting (including battery packs) in your inspection and maintenance routine. Replace lights and lighting equipment as needed.
- Inspect all playground equipment. Perform planned maintenance and repairs. Add additional protective surfacing. Remove pieces of equipment that have been the source of frequent injuries or create unsafe conditions and cannot be repaired.
- If district buildings, equipment and property are used during the summer, adequate supervision is recommended even if the district has entered into a contractual agreement where the group/user will provide their own supervision. Districts are still liable for summer activities in or on their premises and are responsible for maintenance. For example, school may not be in session, but playgrounds and athletic fields are still used. This requires the district to provide regular maintenance to correct hazards.