Lots of fire doors in the news, in large part because of Fire Door Safety Week last week!
Safety campaign targets dodgy fire doors in care homes – CareHome.co.uk
Among almost 100 organisations supporting Fire Door Safety Week this year are the Government’s Fire Kills campaign, the Association for Specialist Fire Protection, the Fire Brigades Union, Chief Fire Officers Association and the Fire Industry Association.
The Fire Minister, Penny Mordaunt, said: “I very much welcome this sector-led approach to promote appropriate use of fire doors: this is the perfect opportunity for owners and occupiers to check their own fire doors and make sure they are in good, safe, working order. Spread awareness, not fire.”
There are about 3 million new fire doors bought and installed every year in the UK, the vast majority made from timber. 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.
However, they remain a significant area of neglect, often the first thing to be downgraded on a specification and mismanaged throughout their service life, propped open, damaged and badly maintained.
Mark Hayter, head of business fire safety for West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, said: ‘We want to help those responsible for commercial premises to keep themselves, their staff and their customers safe.
‘For people in their own homes, shutting internal doors is one of the most effective fire precautions they can take.
‘A closed door stops flames spreading to other rooms, limits the damage to the property and, in combination with a working smoke detector, gives occupiers the valuable time they need to escape.’
London Fire Brigade have released this video showing how well fire doors can protect people in a life-threatening blaze, in order to warn homeowners not to remove them as part of home improvements.
They are concerned that Londoners living in purpose built blocks or houses converted into flats could be replacing fire doors at the entrance to their properties with doors that don’t meet the required safety standards.
One of the most engaging ideas has been the competition run by Aberlour, the largest solely Scottish children’s charity, using the popular story of Frances the Firefly to help communicate the need for greater fire door safety awareness to more than 6,000 vulnerable children, young people and their families. Among a range of activities being carried out by Aberlour, the children are being asked to complete a fire door safety quiz and to draw a picture of a Friendly Fire Door.
At the other end of the country, an all-day event at Lorient in Newton Abbot, Devon, this week brought together representatives from landlords, local councils and building control to see a live fire door test, demonstrations of firefighting equipment and presentations on fire door safety and inspections.
A seminar at the Building Centre for more than 60 property surveyors, consultants, facilities managers and health and safety managers, and involving London Fire Brigade and other fire safety specialists, launched the Week’s activities on Monday. London Fire Brigade has run a major promotional campaign this week urging Londoners living in purpose built blocks or houses converted into flats not to replace vital fire doors at the entrance to their properties with doors that don’t meet the required safety standards.
1 dead, several injured in fire at Allen Park senior housing complex – Detroit Free Press
People were hanging out of their windows when LaFond arrived on the scene, and his mother, age 83, was one of the 63 people who evacuated from the fire, he said.
“When I came up, there was at least a dozen people already hanging out their windows, asking for help,” he said. “It’s a terrible feeling.”
It would’ve been much worse, LaFond said, if two-hour fire doors hadn’t been installed on every apartment of the HUD building a few years ago. The fire started in a unit on the south end of the building, causing heavy damage and affecting neighboring units. LaFond said the cause of the fire is under investigation.
Residents rescued from Urbana apartment fire – The News Gazette
Another division chief, Russell Chism, said the woman living in the apartment was awakened by the smoke detector. She woke her child then per partner, who had fallen asleep in the living room. They got out safely. The man knocked on doors, alerting neighbors as they fled. Leaving without a cell phone in hand, he found another man outside who called 911.
However, when they ran from the apartment, Hensch said, they left the door open, causing the smoke to pour out into the second-floor hallway, which had the effect of “charging” the fire.
Exacerbating the problem, the fire door at the end of the hallway closest to the fire apartment had been propped open with a rock, causing the adjacent stairwell to fill with acrid smoke.
Mr Rosser, from Whitchurch, Cardiff, said the family was frustrated that the coroner was not able to identify where the blame for poor building maintenance lay – with the owner, the property management company, or fire risk assessors.
“I want changes in the law to make it clear who’s responsible for fire safety,” he said.
“Nobody was blamed because the coroner wasn’t sure who the responsible person was.
“We would have hoped as a family that the coroner would have cleared the way for corporate manslaughter charges to be brought against the companies involved.
“The problem with the law at the moment is that it does not make any single entity responsible for the regular inspection and maintenance of fire doors in communal areas so that everybody can pass the buck as happened in Sophie’s case.”
Businesses reminded to keep fire doors closed – Borehamwood and Elstree Times
In a recent survey among fire risk assessors, 80 percent of escape routes were obstructed while 65 percent of fire doors were wedged open.
Pam Charman, president of the Hertfordshire branch, said: “Fire doors are a crucial part of a building’s defenses, because flames – but especially smoke – can spread so quickly that people can be overwhelmed.”
Fire Door Safety Week helps to remind people, and especially businesses, that fire doors aren’t there for decoration, they have a role in protecting people’s lives and property. We can’t think it won’t happen to us because accidents happen. It’s better to be safe than sorry.