Care and nursing home managers responsible for the fire safety of their residents are being urged to get involved in Fire Door Safety Week, taking place this year from 14-20 September.
The award-winning, national campaign aims to raise awareness of the critical importance of fire doors in saving lives and protecting property.
While about three million fire doors are bought and installed in the UK every year, they remain a significant area of neglect. Often the first thing to be downgraded on a specification and mismanaged throughout their service life, fire doors are frequently propped open, damaged and badly maintained.
Some of the latest fire statistics show that between 2013/14, 527 fires occurred in London care homes and sheltered accommodation, with 10 fires a week taking place in the capital’s care homes.
A steady stream of prosecutions under the Fire Safety Order also continues to affect the sector – take for example the case of a Paignton care home owner who was recently fined £19,500 and ordered to pay more than £5,000 in costs for “very, very serious offences” including damaged fire doors, some of which had missing self-closing devices.
The statistics show that there are many lessons on fire safety that need to be learned to either avert potential disasters or ensure they never happen again.
The Fire Door Safety Week campaign highlights the need for all care and nursing home managers to be fully informed of their responsibilities under the Fire Safety Order, and to understand the correct specification, supply, installation, operation, inspection and maintenance of fire doors.
Care and nursing home managers can access free resources in the Fire Door Safety Week toolkit to help spread the word about fire door safety. These include technical checklists to help with fire door inspections, helpful videos, and posters that can be used in any multi-occupancy building to educate residents on simple fire door safety rules.
There are many other ways to get involved, including promoting fire door safety messages on Twitter and other social media, and carrying out onsite inspections of a building’s fire doors.
A wide range of organisations are running events and communications campaigns to support Fire Door Safety Week. Some of the activities taking place across the country include:
- Timber merchant Arnold Laver’s fire door safety day at the National Motorcycle Museum
- The Association for Specialist Fire Protection’s (ASFP) CPD seminar on passive fire protection at the Hampshire Fire and Rescue HQ in Eastleigh, Hants
- MBP’s (Midland Building Products) fire door open day; ‘Knowing the dangers’ for its customers in Great Bridge, Birmingham
- Lorient Polyproducts’ launch of a CPD seminar on the role and performance of fire and smoke resisting door assemblies, as a streamed webinar
- The British Woodworking Federation (BWF) and BWF-CERTIFIRE Scheme’s CPD workshop at the Building Centre, London, for all those responsible for fire safety in buildings.
In the care home sector, the campaign is being supported by major organisations such as the National Association for Safety and Health Care Services, as well as individual care homes including Highfield Care Home in North Yorkshire. Details of all campaign supporters are publicised on the Fire Door Safety Week website.
Hannah Mansell of the BWF, spokesperson for Fire Door Safety Week is also urging members of the public to understand the important role they have to play in reporting dodgy fire doors to building owners or facilities managers.
She said: “Anyone can do a 30 second fire door check. If you walk through a fire door and it looks a bit beaten up, chances are it will need reporting to the ‘Responsible Person’ who is legally required to keep fire doors working correctly, under the terms of the Fire Safety Order 2005. This may be the landlord, the building owner, a facilities manager, estates manager or someone like that. You could also send photos of dodgy fire doors to Theodore Firedoor on Facebook.”
Fire Door Safety Week is an annual campaign instigated by the British Woodworking Federation, the BWF-CERTIFIRE Fire Door Scheme and the Fire Door Inspection Scheme (FDIS), and is supported by the Government’s Fire Kills campaign.
Follow @FDSafetyWeek on Twitter for campaign news and updates, or look out for tweets using the hashtag #FireDoorSafetyWeek.