Frequency and Severity of Fire Disasters in Secondary Schools in Kenya
The issue of fire disasters in schools will no doubt continue being a major problem in the management of education all over the world. The government of Kenya through the Ministry of Education (M.O.E) recognizes that student’s safety is indispensable to effective learning in schools. Cases of fire d isasters in Kenyan secondary schools have been experienced in the last decade with increasing frequency and severity. Over the recent y ears, lives and property worth millions of shillings have been destroyed in these fire disasters. This study assessed the frequency and severity of fire disasters in secondary schools in Vihiga county, Kenya. The main objective of this study was to assess the frequency and severity of fire disasters in secondary schools in the area of study. An evaluation research design was used. Stratified simple random sampling was used to select the schools and the respondents. The study population was composed of secondary school principals, teachers, laboratory technicians, students and the DQASOs in Vihiga County. Data was collected by use of structured questionnaires designed for teachers, students and laboratory technicians, in-depth interviews with school principals and the DQASOs and an observation checklist. Statistical Package for Social Sciences version 11.5 was used in the analysis of data with Chi-square being used to test independence and variation of responses. A spearman’s rank order corre lation was run to determine the relat ionship between teachers’ and students’ responses. According to the findings of this study, it was established that: five out of the thirty five schools that participated in the study had experienced fire disasters in the last 10 years; most of the general requirements for fire disaster preparedness were not in place; most of the schools did not have trained personnel in handling fire disasters and Limited funds was a strong barrier to fire disaster preparedness in secondary schools. It was concluded that: fire disasters in Vihiga are frequent and severe; most of the administrators and even teachers were not trained in fire fighting skills; The findings of the study are to empower schools to reduce their vulnerability to fire disasters. Policy makers will also use this information in formulating and implementing policies on fire safety in secondary schools.