Why fire doors?

Fire doors are often the first line of defence in a fire. Their correct specification, maintenance and management can be the difference between life and death for building occupants. Sadly, 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.

Fire door breaches are still one of the most common fines implemented under the Fire Safety Order, 10 years since this law was introduced. As part of the national Fire Kills campaign, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) are supporting Fire Door Safety Week (September 14-20) and encouraging business owners and users to check the operation and condition of their fire doors and repair (if possible) or report those that aren’t satisfactory.

WYFRS Fire Protection Manager Chris Kemp said: “A fire door is not necessarily a fire exit door and can be identified by a blue ‘FIRE DOOR KEEP SHUT’ sign often at eye level.

“Fire doors are needed inside buildings too, including homes, offices, factories, hospitals, schools, care homes, bars, restaurants, libraries, sports centres, shops and all sort of buildings we use every day.

“Internal fire doors help to compartmentalise a building, such as a block of flats, keeping fire and smoke trapped for a while in one area, so that the fire can be tackled and people can be safely evacuated.

“If you’ve seen a dodgy fire door, report it to your landlord or building manager straight away.”

Fire Door Safety Week is giving these Top 10 Tips on what to look out for – a 30 second fire door check that anyone can do and which lets you know whether it’s time to call in the professionals.

  • Does the door close soundly against the frame?
  • Are the seals (intumescent or smoke seals) present and in good condition?
  • Is the edge of the door or frame damaged?
  • Does the latch engage properly?
  • Are there any gaps larger than 3mm between the frame and the door?
  • Can you see light through the gap at the bottom of the door?
  • Are there a minimum of three hinges and do they look in good condition?
  • Does the door have signage on it?
  • If there is glazing in the door, does it look in good condition?
  • Is the door wedged or stuck open

For more details, visit www.firedoorsafetyweek.co.uk or the West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service website www.westyorksfire.gov.uk