Fire Door Safety Week (25 September - 1 October)
Regional survey shows worryingly low awareness of fire door safety in Bedfordshire
A survey of 2,000 adults in support of Fire Door Safety Week (25 September – 1 October), has shown an alarming lack of general public awareness of the essential role of fire doors, which are a legal requirement in all commercial, public and multi-occupancy buildings.
The research, carried out by IronmongeryDirect, revealed that 54% of people in Bedfordshire have seen a fire door being illegally wedged open. This compares to the UK-wide statistic which stood at almost one in two people (49%).
Another troubling outcome was that 20% of respondents in East Anglia were unaware that fire doors must be kept shut at all times compared to the national average of one in four people (25%).
John Foolkes, Business and Commercial Safety Manager at Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue, said: “The results of this survey highlight the need for the public to be made more aware of the important role that fire doors play in keeping them safe. Fire doors are specifically designed to withstand fire for between 30 and 240 minutes and, when used correctly, they can make a significant difference in preventing serious incidents.
“We recommend that people are vigilant. If you are unsure about the condition or inappropriate use of a fire door, please alert the person responsible for fire safety in your building immediately.”
The survey also highlighted that 31% of people in Bedfordshire did not know the difference between a fire door and an ordinary door. In addition, 18% of people across the county said they would prop a fire door open to let in fresh air among other reasons.
According to the British Woodworking Federation, the organisation behind Fire Door Safety Week, three million fire doors are installed each year. However, they remain a significant area of neglect and should be regularly checked and maintained by those responsible for the upkeep of the building.
Managing Director of IronmongeryDirect, Wayne Lysaght-Mason, commented: “Although our survey was carried out just a month after the Grenfell Tower fire in June, it is disturbing that a significant proportion of the general public seem to lack basic fire door knowledge.”
He added: “We urge the public to contact the person in charge of fire safety in their building if they are unsure about the condition or use of the fire doors. We also encourage tradespeople to use our online fire door checklist to help assess whether fire doors in buildings they occupy, or are responsible for, are legally compliant.”
The safety campaign says that 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.
For more on ensuring fire doors are safe visit: http://firedoorsafetyweek.co.uk/