We had a class on fire extinguishers a while back and i was thinking about that the other day when i realized that in many of the classrooms at my high school there is only one way out. Classrooms on the interior halls have one door and 4 concrete walls, no windows and a floor above meaning basically if that one way out was to be blocked my classmates and i would have no way to get out. Is this legal? I mean some of the rooms have a partition separating two rooms which could be used as a way out but the majority do not. Should i be worried about this?
My middle school was basiclly brick with 3/4 of the classrooms having no windows. The ones that had windows the windows were 1ftx3ft so no on was able to get out. My high school is a state run votech school and due to osha we have at least 3 ways out of the trade areas and 2 ways out of the first floor. And if you count jumping a way out the second floor has two ways out. As to fire extinguishers every trade area has at least 3, as to wether the teachers know how to use them is another story. The academic areas have 1 at each end of the hall way and one in every classroom. The trade areas and science labs have eye wash stations. All the fire safety regs depend on your juristiction. And yes I would worry, not only on fire safety but school security in general.
Laws vary state to state, but I would wager your school is built of concrete and masonry block (non-combustible materials) and fuel loads in the halls are kept to a minimum, mitigating the risk a bit. It may be interesting to find a local fire inspector or station chief and ask if you can do some walk-through with them to learn the code. They can show you the features and faults that they look for, and hopefully teach you a bit about the thought process that goes into safe building construction. A good place to start is the Brannigan book: Building Construction for the Fire Service http://www.amazon.com/Branningans-Building-Construction-Fire-Servic...
Schools, especially newer ones are generally fairly safe...as mentioned most are made of non-combustible materials, and fuel loading is kept to a minimum...areas with higher fuel load (science labs/kitchen areas) are usually easily blocked off with auto-triggering fire doors and well equipped with fire suppression systems....that ideally should be checked annually.
Start by becoming aware of your two nearest means of egress, what fire suppression systems the building is equipped with, where your fire panel is, where the nearest pull stations are, where the fire extinguishers are and if they are current, etc...as a Jr FF, in case of a real emergency you can be essential in first alert and keeping people exiting calmly and effectively.
Jessica, you will probably notice that there are sprinklers on the ceilings. The other issue is that most schools were built in the 50's. They were built to the building codes of the day. Any school built today will have to meet the codes of the day it is built. They do not have to up-grade when the codes improve. Actually in most cases schools are safer then the homes the kids come from. Schools usually burn when no one is there. No, I dont think you should be worried Jessica. I am sure your school is relatively safe.