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Fire door safety ignored despite Grenfell tragedy

Despite the shocking tragedy of the Grenfell fire in London last summer, research has revealed that almost 50 per cent of people have seen fire doors illegally kept open. In addition, 70 per cent of those surveyed admitted they would not know who to contact if they noticed a problem with a fire door. 

The survey results are published in support of Fire Door Safety Week (24-30 September) which aims to raise awareness of the importance of fire doors in saving lives.

The poll of 2,000 adults across the country, carried out by online supplier IronmongeryDirect and supported by the Fire Industry Association, illustrates an alarming lack of general public awareness of the life-saving role of fire doors which are a legal requirement in all commercial, public and multi-occupancy buildings.

Another disturbing outcome was that just under one in two people surveyed said that they did not know how to identify a fire door.

Ian Moore, CEO at the Fire Industry Association, said: “Fire doors are one of many essential elements to keeping safe from fire. In all cases, a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment should be carried out by the responsible person – usually the building owner. A fire risk assessment should determine, through thorough inspection, any potential risks or hazards so that they may be resolved.

This research highlights the need for tradespeople and the wider public to be more aware of the essential 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 saving lives and protecting buildings.

In addition, 34 per cent of people nationally said they would prop a fire door open to let in fresh air or give easier access, 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.

About Sarah OBeirne

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