Don’t neglect your fire door maintenance
Following a fatal fire in a high rise tower block a housing manager has been fined £40,000 and ordered to pay £23,407, with the judge stating that if the company hadn’t been a not-for-profit organisation the fine would have been considerably higher.
The cause of the fire was attributed to arson by another resident, however after the blaze it was found there had been serious safety failings. These included the lack of maintenance of fire doors which had directly contributed to the spread of the fire throughout the building.
It is important to remember that fire doors are often one of the first lines of defence in protecting both people and property when a fire breaks out. Correctly installed and maintained fire doors may prove to be the difference between life and death as they can buy valuable time allowing individuals to escape.
Despite being a fundamental part of a building’s passive fire protection and a requirement under legislation, fire doors are commonly an area of neglect. They are often poorly maintained and jammed open. A recent survey by The Fire Door Inspection Scheme (FDIS) highlights the scale of the problem. An analysis of fire doors across 31 sites revealed 2,506 faults in 677 doors which would reduce their effectiveness. Of those surveyed more than:
-61% had problems with fire or smoke seals
-33% had incorrect signage
-230 had gaps exceeding the specification between the door and the frame
-20% had unsuitable hinges
-Almost one in six had damage to the door leaf.
A useful infographic was created for Fire Door Safety Week. It highlights 5 simple fire door checks that anyone can perform and which will allow some of the more common problems to be identified. The infographic can be found here.
Although considered one of the most effective fire safety measures, fire doors are often argued to present other problems. Due to the weight and self closing requirement, they are often blamed for causing injuries and can present significant risks to less able individuals and children.
A common solution to overcome this potential risk is to use automatic door release systems. These are designed to hold fire doors in the open position but in the event of a fire the doors will automatically close. This reduces the risk of people getting caught in closing doors and avoids the need for them to be jammed open permanently, rendering them useless in the event of a fire.
If you would like to learn more about the importance of fire door safety and the use of electronic door release systems please feel free to contact one of our specialists, they will be happy to help.