Fire Doors – keep them closed!

Fire doors. What is the point of them? I have lost count of the number of offices, blocks of flats and buildings I have visited where they are propped open with boxes of paper or a door wedge! I know they can be quite cumbersome to open and are fairly heavy when trying to bring an arm full of stationary back to the office or getting a pushchair through. But, quite simply, leaving fire doors open endangers other people’s lives.

Did you know a fire door can stop the spread of a fire from 30-120 minutes depending on the type of fire door that has been installed. This is more than enough time to find a safe escape route should a fire break out. Imagine how much more difficult it would be to escape if a fire door was left open. If proof is needed of their effectiveness, please check out this video

Fire Doors fall under current legislation called the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (FSO). Within this regulation the responsibility to ensure fire doors are correctly installed and within good working order fall under the following responsible person(s).

  • Rented property – The landlord must ensure that their properties and tenants are safe. They can be criminally prosecuted if they do not fulfil their duties.
  • Council and Social housing – Social Landlords (be they Local Authorities or Housing Associations). In 2015, 58% of all fire door fines (£454,786) were issued to landlords of HMOs in the UK
  • Care homes and sheltered accommodation – Whoever the nominated person is within the establishment, they can be criminally prosecuted if they do not fulfil their duties.
  • Offices, shops and industrial units –  Building owners, employers and operators have a responsibility. There is concern with mixed use buildings where businesses and residents co-exist where either party is unsure about who the responsible person is.
  • Schools, Universities and Colleges – They are all responsible. Educational establishments are often a harsh environment for doors, with high pupil and student flow so are often the most taxing to monitor. Halls of residence fall within the relevant remit of the school, university or college.
  • Hotel and Guest Houses – The Owners have a responsibility to ensure that guests are safe. With fire often happening at night, whilst guests are disoriented in a unfamiliar environment, a clear and well communicated signposted fire plan is essential
  • Hospitals – Hospital and Healthcare Management have a responsibility to ensure that employees and users of their patients are safe.
  • Public Buildings – Building managers take the responsibility, which can be quite tricky due to the nature of some buildings being listed and placement of fire doors.

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Fire Door Safety week starts on 25th September. The main aims of this action group are:

  • To raise awareness of the critical role of fire doors, drawing attention to specific issues such as poor installation and maintenance.
  • To encourage building owners and users to check the operation and condition of their fire doors and to report those that aren’t satisfactory.
  • To link together the initiatives of many organisations with common interests in the fire door and passive fire protection industries.
  • To engage and educate people, helping the whole building industry and every property owner to understand the correct specification, supply, installation, operation, inspection and maintenance of fire doors.

To get involved visit the website at http://www.firedoorsafetyweek.co.uk

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