Posted September 26, 2017

Fire Door Safety Week is this week – did you know?

Fire doors save lives and protect property, and are a crucial part of the passive fire protection of every commercial, public and multiple occupancy building.

They are often the first line of defence when a fire breaks out, and ensuring that the right specification of door is installed in your premises can be the difference between life and death for the people within the building.

Sadly, though, they are often taken for granted and are not taken quite as seriously as they should, often being propped open (when they should remain closed), damaged and badly maintained.

Fire Door Safety Week seeks to engage and educate people, helping every property owner to understand the correct specification, supply, installation, operation, inspection and maintenance of fire doors.

As part of the week’s events, they have published “101 facts about fire doors” – I’ve picked out a few for your attention.

  • Just over one third (39%) of those with fire doors admit they have seen one propped open in their building. (Source: Atomik Research 2017)
  • Respondents thought that the responsibility for checking the fire doors and officially ‘signing off’ the building for fire safety is with
  • i. 41% – the landlord
  • ii. 23% – the fire brigade
  • iii. 16% – the landlord’s management company
  • iv. 4% – themselves (Source: Atomik Research 2017)
  • Fire protection systems in buildings range from inbuilt (passive) fire protection to sprinklers and fire alarms. Fire doors are one of the most critical elements of passive fire protection, used to provide compartmentation – in other words, containing fire and smoke for a period of time to allow people to be safely rescued and evacuated.
  • There are about 3 million new fire doors bought and installed every year in the UK, the vast majority made from timber. (Source: British Woodworking Federation)
  • Article 17 of the FSO (Fire Safety Order also known as the Regulatory Reform Order) requires a suitable maintenance regime to ensure relevant equipment is kept in an efficient state. This includes fire doors and escape doors. (Source: FDIS16)
  • A review undertaken by FDIS certificated fire door inspectors in 2015 revealed the extent of fire door failures being seen on site.
  • i. Over 61% of fire doors inspected had problems with fire or smoke seals.
  • ii. More than a third had incorrect signage.
  • iii. 230 fire doors inspected had gaps bigger than 3mm between door and frame.
  • iv. More than 20% had unsuitable hinges.
  • v. Almost 1 in 6 had damage to the door leaf. (Source: FDIS18)

If you are in any doubt as to how important it is to ensure fire doors are used correctly, watch the video below. A tragic tale of what can happen when fire doors are not maintained.

It has been interesting to read some of the news articles published as part of #FireDoorSafetyWeek, not least their publication around research done three months following the Grenfell disaster. I’ll be publishing a few of their articles throughout the week so watch out for more.