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British Woodworking Federation and Building Research Establishment collaborate to raise standards in fire safety

by Brian Sims

The British Woodworking Federation (BWF) and the Building Research Establishment (BRE) have joined forces in a bid to raise awareness of the importance of fire doors and to help advance standards in their design, manufacture and installation. Fire doors are the first line of defence against devastating fires and. when properly built, installed and maintained, they save lives and protect property. Despite this, fire doors across the UK are still badly fitted, often non-compliant, left propped open or damaged and, as a result, could be putting millions of lives at risk.

Fire Door Safety Week (FDSW) continues to educate about the critical role that fire doors play in delaying the spread of smoke and fire, and keeping both occupants and firefighters safe. The BRE, which has over 95 years’ experience at the leading edge of building research and development, is supporting this week’s campaign and the BWF to develop a series of emotive and educational fire door safety films. The films highlight the potentially devastating effects of fire and smoke and the need to ensure that Best Practice and standards are followed throughout the industry.

Hannah Mansell (spokesperson for FDSW, the BWF’s head of technical research and insight, chair of the Passive Fire Protection Forum and a Trustee of the Children’s Burns Trust) told Risk Xtra: “We’d like to thank the BRE for its ongoing support in allowing us to use its facilities for our filming. We’re delighted to be working in collaboration with a cross-section of the industry to raise awareness of these life-saving messages around fire door safety as well as working to help raise standards that will ensure the safety of building occupants and firefighters.”

Debbie Smith, managing director at the BRE Global, responded: “Fire safety within the design of a building is of critical importance and fire doors are an integral part of that. We at the BRE are passionate about driving forward building safety and we’re continually working with our stakeholders from across the built environment, such as the BWF and the Fire Door Alliance, to help improve technical knowledge and understanding and deliver safer buildings for all. We fully support Fire Door Safety Week 2018 and encourage the industry to be involved in helping to raise awareness of the critical role of fire doors and the need for improved industry standards and practice. The need for good installation and ongoing inspection and maintenance of fire doors isn’t well understood outside of the industry and this simply must change.”

Leveraging greater unity to support fire safety is paramount. The newly-formed Fire Door Alliance sees companies certifying products under the BWF Certifire process continuing unabated, while those currently using the Q-Mark scheme are now able to join the Fire Door Alliance and work with the wider sector to effect much needed change.

FDSW is a national campaign run by the BWF, the BWF-Certifire Scheme and the Fire Door Inspection Scheme in partnership with the Home Office’s National Fire Safety campaign. Throughout this week, there will be numerous events and campaign activities to raise awareness about the importance of fire door safety.

*To access a free toolkit of fire safety advice resources to help run your own FDSW activities visit www.firedoorsafetyweek.co.uk

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