Fire doors are a crucial part of the fire protection of every commercial, public and multiple occupancy building. They are more than just doors; they are engineered safety devices that save lives and property. However, in a 2014 survey, (45%) of people responsible for fire safety in their organisations say they really would not know how to spot a dodgy fire door one of the most critical passive fire protection features in the buildings we use every day.
Fire Door Safety week was created by the British Woodworking Federation, the BWF-CERTIFIRE Fire Door Scheme and the UK’s Fire Door Inspection Scheme to raise awareness of the critical role of fire doors, encouraging building owners and other users to check the condition of their own devices and educating those within the industry on the importance of fire door safety, helping them understand the correct specification, supply, installation, operation, inspection and maintenance of fire doors.
There is an average of 162 building fires in Great Britain every day, with more than 9,100 fatalities or casualties from those fires in 2013-14, about 25 a day. Despite these alarming figures, it seems people are still extremely complacent when it comes to fire safety.
Recent research by Ironmongrey Direct for Fire Door Safety Week 2015 found that from a poll of 1,000 employees, many employees were not aware of the steps they should take if the fire alarm was to sound. When asked about fire safety, 53% admitted that that they would not know how to spot a dodgy fire door and 28% didn’t actually know that it was illegal to prop open a fire door without a specially designed device approved by the fire authority.
The survey found that only 47% of respondents were aware that their employer carried out regular fire risk assessments, which are a legal requirement.
The consequences of fire safety negligence are extremely severe. In 2014, the London Fire Brigade reported that over the previous three years there had been three deaths and 36 people injured in fires in the capital where fire doors had been replaced, left open or incorrectly fitted. There was an estimated billion pound bill for fire-related property insurance claims in 2014.
What can I do?
Fire Door Safety Week offers Top 10 Tips on what to look out for in your workplace: a 30 second fire door check which lets you know if you need to bring in fire door safety inspectors.
Does the door close soundly against the frame?
Are the seals (intumescent or smoke seals) present and in good condition?
Is the edge of the door or frame damaged?
Does the latch engage properly?
Are there any gaps larger than 3mm between the frame and the door?
Can you see light through the gap at the bottom of the door?
Are there a minimum of three hinges and do they look in good condition?
Does the door have signage on it?
If there is glazing in the door, does it look in good condition?
Is the door wedged or stuck open?
Watch the video to understand how safe your fire doors are?
Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, employers or those who have control over a premises known as the ‘responsible person’ are required to carry out a fire risk assessment and act on its findings. The risk assessment should also identify actions which need to be taken in order to protect the building from fire and it must be kept under constant review and amended if any changes are made to the premises. However there are still many building owners, landlords and agents faced with prosecutions
The NEBOSH Fire Certificate provides people with fire safety responsibilities with the knowledge and skills to carry out fire risk assessments and ensure employers are compliant. Find out more.
Get involved in Fire Door Safety Week:
Visit the Fire Door Safety Week website which has heaps of information and advice on how to identify, install and maintain fire doors, as well as a helpful 5-step-check and downloadable technical checklist to help you identify the critical elements when installing and inspecting fire doors http://www.firedoorsafetyweek.co.uk/
Visit the Astutis blog where you can find guidance on fire safety training within the workplace, including information on Fire Extinguisher training for employees
Carry out an inspection of your fire doors, or get a FDIS Certificated Inspector to help
Tweet about Fire Door Safety Week using the hashtag #FireDoorSafetyWeek