17 September 2014

New research has shown that people are shocking complacent about fire safety.

Fire is still a big problem in the UK, with an average of 174 building fires every day.

New research published to coincide with Fire Door Safety Week (15-21 September 2014) reveals that almost half of the public (47%) have never been shown or told about the fire safety procedures where they work.

If a fire alarm was to sound, 14% of people say they would see what everyone else was doing and ‘go with the flow’. One in 10 people (11%) would go into the corridor and investigate, and one in 20 admit they would simply ignore it, assuming there must be a fault on the alarm system.

When respondents with formal responsibility for fire safety in their organisations were asked if they were fully aware of their legal obligations, almost half (46.5%) said they either did not know what they were or admitted they were unclear.

A similar proportion (45%) say they really would not know how to spot a dodgy fire door – one of the most critical passive fire protection features in the buildings we use every day.

John Fletcher, manager of the British Woodworking Federation’s BWF-CERTIFIRE Scheme which, together with the UK’s Fire Door Inspection Scheme (FDIS), is behind the organisation of Fire Door Safety Week, says that we all need to open our eyes to fire safety.

He said: “Dodgy fire doors are usually just one of many signs of fire safety negligence, but actually they’re a relatively easy one to spot and do something about.”

“We are calling on everyone to look again at the buildings you live, stay and work in, and to report dodgy fire doors to the landlord, building manager or owner.

“The same principle applies to all commercial buildings, non-domestic and multi-occupancy premises, including offices, restaurants, shops, hotels, care homes, public buildings, high rise flats and privately rented apartments. All of these buildings should have properly installed and maintained fire doors to help save lives and property.”

There are three easy steps to check a fire safety door.

  1. Make sure any door marked ‘Fire Door’ closes correctly around all parts of the farm and that it is not blocked or wedged open.
  2. The gap between the door and the frame should be no more than 3-4mm.
  3. There should be no damage on the door, its edges, hinges, handles and windows. If you are in doubt get proper inspection by a qualified fire door inspector.

Commercial buildings, non-domestic and multi-occupancy premises in England and Wales are already forced to undertake a 'suitable and sufficient' fire risk assessment carried out under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

While the overwhelming majority of premises do this, if the assessment is thought to have been carried out to an insufficient extent, the Responsible Person can face an unlimited fine or up to two years in prison.