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This week – 24th – 30th September - sees the sixth year of the annual Fire Door Safety Week campaign, which over the years has grown steadily in terms of reach and impact.
Run by the British Woodworking Federation (BWF), the campaign reached over 19 million people in 2017, delivering messages on the importance of fire doors in saving lives and protecting property, and landlords’ legal responsibilities for managing fire door safety.
With over 4 million new fire doors bought and installed every year in the UK - the vast majority made from timber - fire doors are often the first line of defence in a fire and their correct specification, maintenance and management can be the difference between life and death for building occupants. Unfortunately, however, they remain a significant area of neglect and are often the first thing to be downgraded on a specification and mismanaged throughout their service life, propped open, damaged and badly maintained.
A review undertaken by FDIS (Fire Door Inspection Scheme) certificated fire door inspectors in 2015 revealed the extent of fire door failures being seen on site. Over 61% of fire doors inspected had problems with fire or smoke seals and more than a third had incorrect signage. 230 of the fire doors inspected had gaps bigger than 3mm between door and frame, more than 20% had unsuitable hinges and finally, almost 1 in 6 had damage to the door leaf*
Despite fire doors being critical in containing fire and smoke for a period of time to allow people to be safely rescued and evacuated, a recent survey of 2000 UK adults by Ironmongery Direct revealed that a quarter of people are unaware that fire doors must be kept shut at all times.
Just under half (49%) of those surveyed said they have seen a fire door propped open and over a third (36%) admitted that they would prop a fire door open at certain times, such as when needing to regularly pass through a fire door protected doorway, needing fresh air or when moving heavy objects.
Nearly 6 in 10 people (59%) did not know how to identify a fire door, while the 13% of people who did would either take no action or be unsure what to do if there was an obvious problem with a fire door.
Previous research by Ironmongery Direct showed that just under three quarters (73%) of tradespeople that were surveyed had noticed fire doors without correctly fitted seals, and 74% had seen a blocked or obstructed fire door.
For more information on the importance of fire doors, read our previous blog posts- Part One - Better Safe Than Sorry and Part Two - 5 Steps to Safety. For further information on the Fire Door Safety Week campaign, visit www.firedoorsafetyweek.co.uk.
Life is precious and property and assets matter. For help and advice on all fire protection and safety products, please contact the Fire Depot team on 0330 999 2233, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.firedepot.co.uk to see our range of fire safety products.
* (Source: FDIS18)