Knowledge, attitudes and practices on fire safety among staff in public primary schools in Bugiri Municipality, Uganda
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About 18% of Ugandan schools have experienced fire outbreak. Fire outbreaks in schools result in many negative impacts such as the death and injury of learners, loss of property, and destruction of school infrastructure. Fire safety in schools is paramount to ensure that quality education is delivered to students in a safe environment. The high prevalence of fire outbreaks in schools is attributed to the lack of preparedness and limited awareness among stakeholders such as school staff members. Given that most fire outbreaks occur in primary schools, where young learners lack fire safety knowledge, staff involvement is essential. Teachers, non-teaching staff, security personnel, matrons/wardens, and school electricians all have significant roles in fire safety. The study aimed at assessing school staff knowledge, attitudes, and practices related to fire safety in Bugiri Municipality Uganda. A descriptive cross-sectional study was carried out using quantitative and qualitative data collection methods. A total of 90 staff were randomly sampled from 5 primary schools in Bugiri Municipality. A total 8 Key Informant Interviews were conducted with head teachers of the selected schools, the municipal health inspector, the municipal education office and the police fire department. Quantitative data was collected by an interviewer-administered close-ended questionnaire designed with Kobo ToolBox software for 90 staff of the five public schools in the Municipality. The data was then transferred and cleaned using Excel software and analysed using STATA 14 software. Qualitative data was analysed thematically. All the respondents knew at least one component of the fire triangle. A total of 89 (98.9%) respondents mentioned heat source as one of the fire triangle components, combustible material was mentioned by 81 (90.0%) and oxygen mentioned by 55 (61.1%) respondents respectively. The majority 89 (98.9%) of respondents were aware of class A fire while 86 (95.6%) were aware of class C fire. About two-thirds 62 (68.9%) of the respondents knew that water does not extinguish all fire classes. Only a third of the staffs knew that staff are supposed to be given fire safety training as well as routine fire drills. Majority 76 (84.4%) of the staff recognized that fire is a threat to every school. Nearly all 86 (95.6%) of the staff acknowledged that they play a major role in ensuring school safety from fire outbreaks. Most staff 62 (68.9%) were never trained on fire safety. Of those who were trained on fire safety, only 13(14.1%) got the training in their current school. Nearly all the staff had not participated in a fire drill at their current school. Primary school staff in public primary schools in Bugiri municipality had poor knowledge about fire safety and a few had fire safety practice experience. The schools and municipal authority need to enforce fire safety measures to ensure that school environments are safe for all students, staff, and property.