Fire Door Safety Week was first launched in 2013, in response to a legacy of fire door neglect. It returns once more for its seventh year in 2020, highlighting research undertaken into the state of fire door maintenance, inspection and replacements across local authority owned and managed housing in the UK, as IFSEC Global Editor James Moore reports.
The campaign is managed by the British Woodworking Federation, and is supported by a number of partners, including London Fire Brigade (LFB), The National Fire Chief’s Council (NFCC) and the Home Office’s National Fire Safety campaign.
Fire Door Safety Week is designed to raise awareness of the importance of fire door safety, and the critical role fire doors play in saving lives. Designed to link together several initiatives with common interests in the fire door and passive fire protection industry, it also hopes to encourage building owners and users to check the condition of their fire doors.
Research for the 2020 campaign comes from Freedom of Information (FOI) requests sent to all UK local authorities in July 2020, with data collated for analysis from 147 of those. Key results include:
- 60% of local authorities delayed fire door maintenance and inspection programmes in the first half of 2020;
- 53% of local authorities stating delays cited COVID-19 as a reason;
- Nearly 10,000 individual properties have been affected by the delays;
- 63% of planned fire door maintenance and replacement did not progress as scheduled;
- 65% of those experiencing delays plan to recommence works by the end of 2020.
While COVID-19 continues to put a strain on projects, this year’s campaign is encouraging building owners to think even more about fire door safety, as people spend more time at home. Regular inspections carried out by trained and competent professionals are critical, it says.
Several companies in the fire sector are showing their support this year – find out more about what they’re doing, below.
Abloy – Fire door safety guide & webinars
Abloy UK has unveiled a ‘definitive’ fire door safety guide to mark this year’s Fire Door Safety Week.
Designed with facilities managers and nominated Responsible Persons in mind, the guide has been created to be a trusted source of safety and compliance information. It is free for any business to download and use to review their own fire doors.
Research suggests that more organisations need to focus on fire door safety and how to ensure their solutions remain safe and compliant. Abloy’s guide outlines whose responsibility fire doors are, along with a seven-step guide to door inspection and a printable check list to assist with record keeping.
The business is also inviting the industry to refresh its knowledge with two webinars to help raise awareness and highlight the importance of selecting compliant products for fire and escape doors. The two webinars will cover:
- Electric locking fire and escape doors (24 September, 9-10 AM);
- Escape door system (24 September, 2-3 PM).
For those unable to attend, the webinars will be recorded and available on demand.
Pat Jefferies, Commercial Director at Abloy UK, said: “We take our commitment to fire door compliance incredibly seriously. Anyone with a responsibility for access control has a duty to increase their knowledge and commit to making buildings safe for occupants: specifying the correct solution can mean the difference between life and death.
“I understand that there are many other pressing priorities in 2020, but to be frank you’ll care a lot less about these if you’re trapped in a burning building. That’s why we must never, ever let fire door safety slip, and instead find the best solutions that combine touch-free access along with compliance for emergency escape.”
Lee Perry, Business Manager – Health, Safety & Fire Consultancy at Bureau Veritas, said: “Properly fitted and maintained fire doors are critical to the safe evacuation of a building in the event of fire, forming part of the compartmentation of the building, and helping to retain the fire in its compartment of origin. Poorly fitted and damaged fire doors allow smoke and heat into the escape routes within the building, which makes it much more difficult to evacuate and puts lives needlessly at risk.
“Fire Door Safety Week provides a timely reminder of the importance of fire doors to those with responsibilities for managing fire safety within buildings, but this year it has identified widespread delays to planned preventative inspection and maintenance regimes which continue to put people at risk.
“To quote Fire Door Safety Week’s own message, COVID-19 is forcing more people than ever to stay at home and so we need an urgent focus on ensuring the safety of all building occupants.”
Door & Hardware Federation
Door & Hardware Federation (DHF) is demonstrating its continuing support for Fire Door Safety Week.
DHF says it has been a long-standing supporter of the objectives of Fire Door Safety Week, and a fierce and passionate advocate for third-party certification of manufacture, installation, maintenance and inspection of fire and smoke doors. It has been particularly vocal since the 2017 Grenfell Tower tragedy.
In March 2019, in collaboration with Secured by Design (SBD) and the Fire Industry Association (FIA), DHF published a guidance document on flat entrance doorsets: A Guide for Selecting Flat Entrance Doorsets; A publication for housing associations, landlords, building owners and local authorities in England, which highlights the fundamental issues of fire safety for those selecting fire doorsets.
DHF was also actively involved in the technical committees of the Industry Response Group, formed in response to Dame Judith Hackitt’s Report: ‘Building a Safer Future’, and also works on BSI Standards Committees.
“We are delighted to continue our support of Fire Door Safety Week and hope that our collective message, that fire doors should be correctly installed with robust fire door maintenance procedures in place as a key part of fire safety, is heard,” said DHF’s Head of Commercial Operations, Patricia Sowsbery-Stevens. “In addition, we look forward to welcoming delegates to our future fire safety seminars, be they face-to-face, or online.”
IFSEC Global has a number of articles dedicated to the topic of fire doors and passive fire protection, some of which you can find below:
- Fire doors explained: A beginner’s guide;
- A beginner’s guide to passive fire protection;
- FDIS finds three quarters of fire doors failed inspections in 2019;
- An epidemic of fire door failings.
Launched for Fire Door Safety Week 2019 the film below implores responsible persons to act now and replace faulty fire doors without delay.
Follow @FDSafetyWeek on Twitter for further updates on this impressive and much-needed campaign.
This article was originally published on IFSEC Global.