Research reveals alarming levels of ignorance and complacency about fire safety

Posted On 23 Aug 2014
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Fire safety is a massive issue in the UK with an average of 174 building fires occurring every day, but new research has shown that people are shockingly complacent about the subject. Published to coincide with Fire Door Safety Week (which this year ran from 15-21 September), the research reveals that almost half of the public (47%) have never been informed 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 ten people (11%) would go into the corridor and investigate, while one in 20 admit they would simply ignore it, assuming there must be a fault somewhere 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 don’t know what these obligations are 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 on a daily basis. Opening our eyes to fire safety 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” stresses that we all need to open our eyes to fire safety. ” Dodgy fire doors are usually just one of many signs of fire safety negligence,” asserted Fletcher,” 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 in which they live and work and to report dodgy fire doors to the landlord, building manager or owner.” Fletcher added:” 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: *Make sure any door marked ‘Fire Door’ closes correctly around all parts of the frame and that it’s not blocked or wedged open *The gap between the door and the frame should be no more than 3-4 mm *There should be no damage on the door, its edges, hinges, handles and windows If you’re in any doubt seek a proper inspection by a qualified fire door inspector. London Fire Brigade issues fire safety door warning The London Fire Brigade is urging residents and landlords of purpose-built blocks or houses converted into flats not to replace vital fire doors at the entrance to the property with doors that do not meet the required safety standards. The Brigade has also raised concerns about people removing the self-closing mechanism on their fire doors to prevent themselves from being accidentally locked out. In the last three years in London three people have died and 36 people have been injured in fires where fire doors have been replaced, left open or incorrectly fitted. Fire doors are a legal requirement for flats which open on to communal areas shared with other tenants. They ensure escape routes are protected if a fire breaks out and are designed to automatically close behind people in the event of fire, holding back flames and stopping the spread of fire and smoke. Steve Turek, Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety Regulation, explained:” You wouldn’t remove seatbelts from your car, so why remove fire doors from your home or business premises? Fire doors are specially designed to automatically close behind you in the event of fire, holding back flames and stopping the spread of the fire and toxic smoke into escape routes, corridors and other flats in the block. It’s crucial that people don’t remove the self-closing mechanism on fire doors.”

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.