It's Fire Door Safety Week from 23 to 29 September 2019.
And it reminded me of a conversation I had with a nervous local business owner.
He told me:
It wasn't until I employed person #5 that I realised the importance of fire door safety.
Suddenly, I officially became a Responsible Person who had to produce a written Fire Risk Assessment. And my house could be on the line if I didn't protect the people working for me while they were in my office space!
His office was part of a complex. In multi-occupied buildings, the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2004 and the Fire (Scotland) Act 2006 requires the 'Responsible Person/Duty Holder' to co-operate and liaise with other 'Responsible Persons/Duty Holders' within the building whether on a permanent or temporary basis to ensure the safety of all relevant persons.
Which he tried...
I spoke to my landlord but, although I asked several times to see the most recent FRA, he only gave me the one that had happened six years previously.
I was particularly worried about the door between our office and the external corridor.
It was meant to protect my staff if a fire broke out in the corridor and they couldn't get out.
I started researching online and this video put the fear of God into me...
I realised I knew very little about the composition of our wooden door. I didn't know if the hinges were fire-rated. I could see there was a gap between the door and the frame but I didn't know whether it was too big to comply with the regulations.
I could see that there was some kind of seal in that space. But I didn't know whether that seal was made of the right material or if it was the right size to fill the gap and stop poisonous smoke from getting in. I also didn't know if the glass panel in the door was fire-rated.
In short, I didn't know nearly enough!
My friend was very distressed about the whole thing. To get peace of mind, he had to pay a lot of money to get his own Fire Risk Assessment for an area that measures less than 500 sqft.
5 quick checks you can do on your Fire Door
If the horrible events of the Grenfell fire did anything, it spread awareness of the importance of fire stopping. Both its application and
using the correct materials. Fire doors are taken for granted
- they are, quite literally, part of the furniture! But fitted and maintained correctly, they are one of the best ways to save lives in an emergency.
Here are 5 quick checks you can make to see if your fire door is safe:
- Look for labels or similar markings that show the door is certificated
- Check that the door is marked correctly with the appropriate signage - Fire door keep shut
- Ensure that the door or frame has the combined fire and smoke seal and the door closes correctly with an even gap all around of about 3mm. Also check the door closer at the top is fitted securely.
- Check the fire-rated hinges are fitted firmly into the door and the frame with no missing screws.
- Make sure the door is not damaged and never wedged or propped open.
If you have any concerns, contact your landlord, the person responsible for your building's fire safety, or the local fire brigade.
Advice from Fire Door experts
Even before Grenfell, Ian turned down work orders that didn't meet good industry standards. Since the tragedy, building owners and operators are taking advice and specifying work better but the buck ultimately stops with the Responsible Person.
If that's you, don't assume
your landlord has everything in place - check! And if they don't, get advice from a qualified expert
to make sure you can shut the door to fire
in your premises.
Are you a Business owner or Responsible Person in Essex or East London?
Simply click the button below to request a call from a friendly Fire Safety professional!
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