As some of you may already know, this week is Fire Door Safety Week in the UK. This year, the team are seeking to raise awareness of the critical role that accurately installed and maintained fire doors play, in providing passive fire protection to commercial, public and multiple occupancy buildings. According to their official website, around 3 million new fire doors are bought and installed in the UK every year, which may sound like good news at first, but does not accurately represent the standard of safety upheld across the country. In reality, many fire doors fail to receive the maintenance they need to function safely, often left defective and damaged by a lack of care or poor installation.
In order to raise awareness of this common problem, and highlight its existence in public buildings across the country, Theodore Firedoor went undercover and collected video evidence on behalf of IFSEC Global, in order expose cases of neglect.
In the videos which can be viewed here, Theodore visits a hospital and newly built school - two buildings that would rely heavily on the ability to confine a blaze to certain areas for as long as possible, in the event of a fire. Both cases revealed a range of maintenance and installation issues, from faulty closures to missing 'Fire Door Keep Locked' signs. One of the most concerning issues of all, was the fact that the gaps between doors were well in excess of the fire door safety recommendations, which means that they would fail to prevent the passage of poisonous smoke in the event of a fire.
This footage demonstrated not only how common this issue can be, but also how often it arises in areas we wouldn't expect. When you think about workplaces and areas of vital public importance, such as hospitals, you would expect health and safety issues to be at the very top of their priority list. Sadly, the evidence shows that this is not the case in many instances, seemingly due to a lack of proper care and attention. Anyone who has even the slightest idea about proper health and safety practices, knows that it is not a one-off process, and that there are no fail-proof solutions to preventing everyday dangers. To provide the highest level of protection and confidence in health and safety measures, they must be assessed on a regular basis, in order to ensure that they are functioning to the correct standards for a valuable impact.
In order to ensure that fire doors do provide the correct level of protection, those responsible for installing and maintaining these measures should follow these four simple steps:
Step 1: Conduct a thorough assessment of the property, to identify where fire doors are needed.
Step 2: Install safety doors using a reputable and and certified supplier, before conducting another assessment once the work is completed, to ensure that the doors meet official safety standards.
Step 3: Ensure that fire doors are marked with the correct signs, to ensure that employees, occupants and other members of the public, are properly informed of how they should be used and maintained.
Step 4: Conduct regular checks of the fire doors, using the checklist provided by Fire Door Safety Week here, ensuring that a FDIS inspector is contacted if there is an area of concern.
For more fire safety stories and advice, here.