- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
An internal fire and sprinkler inspection in Charles County Public Schools resulted in multiple minor infractions, many of which have been taken care of over the summer.
Infractions such as removed doorstops on fire doors, outdated fire extinguishers and outdated pressure gauges were found during a quarterly inspection by Glenn Belmore, the school system's safety and risk manager.
Katie O'Malley-Simpson, school system spokeswoman, said that none of the infractions found at 25 of the system's 35 schools put any students or faculty at risk.
The last inspection was completed in June, and O'Malley-Simpson said that anything that needed to be repaired is repaired. For example, the inspection indicated that fire doors at Benjamin Stoddert Middle School were in need of replacement or repair, and J.P. Ryon Elementary School needed a flammable waste storage area, which is a fireproof cabinet.
O'Malley-Simpson said that J.P. Ryon now has an appropriate cabinet for flammable waste.
Stoddert does not have new fire doors at this time because they are not damaged or out of compliance, but inspectors suggested replacing them with smaller doors that don't weigh so heavily on the door frame. She said that the doors at Stoddert “are not a violation, just a suggestion.”
O'Malley-Simpson said that it is not uncommon to see minor issues such as the ones listed in June.
“A lot of things can happen, especially when you have older schools,” she said.
Deputy Chief Fire Marshal Duane Svites said there are so many moving parts in a school building that it is often hard to stay 100 percent compliant at all times.
The fire marshal's office does inspections in the schools once a year, and in Charles County, there have only ever been small problems, such as bulbs that have gone out on exit lights or problems with storage spaces, Svites said.
At its last annual inspection, after noted issues were addressed, the school system was 100 percent compliant, Svites said.
He said “hats off” to Charles County for the thorough inspections they do during the year to keep on top of safety concerns. The multiple inspections and monthly fire extinguisher checks make it so that many of the small problems are fixed before the fire marshal's office does its inspections.
He said that none of the schools have had any violations that would put students or employees in danger.
Svites said that the fire marshal's office works closely with public and private schools and health-related buildings, such as hospitals, to keep those areas in compliance.
Generally, Svites said, buildings have anywhere from seven to 30 days to fix a problem.