Cheshire Fire supports national fire door safety campaign

Fire doorsThis week Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service are supporting Fire Door Safety Week, which is a national campaign, designed to help raise awareness of the importance of fire safety and fire doors.

The campaign runs from September 21 to 27th and the Service wants to offer people as much safety advice and information about fire doors, in both commercial and public properties, as possible during this time.

Fire doors can save lives and prevent fire if they are used correctly. They are purpose-built specialist doors that are built and tested to hold back fire, enabling buildings to be compartmentalised, delaying the spread of fire from one room to another.

They are a vital safety features for some residential homes and under fire safety legislation all business premises must have fire doors in place that meet fire safety standards.

The most important functions fire doors have are:

  • When closed, they form a barrier to stop the spread of fire

  • When opened, they provide a means of escape.

Tracey Carter, Business Safety Manager at Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “By supporting this campaign we hope to raise awareness that fire doors play a critical role in saving lives and property.

“They are extremely effective at preventing fire and smoke spreading from the room of origin and we have seen cases in the past where lives and buildings have been saved as a result of fire doors being fitted and used correctly.

“I would advise people to get into the habit of closing all doors as a matter of course to prevent fire spreading and at the first sign of fire, get out, stay out and call 999.

“Fire doors save lives, but must work correctly and should never be propped open.”

A fire door is an engineered safety device so:

  • Never prop open a fire door

  • Never disconnect a fire door closer

  • Ensure all fire doors fitted meet the correct British Standard (and where possible ensure 3rd party certificated fire doors are fitted. 

Follow the five step fire door check and stay safe:

  • Check for certification. Is there a label or plug on top (or occasionally on the side) of the door to show it is a certificated fire door? You can use the selfie function on your camera phone or a mirror to check. If there is, that’s good news, otherwise report it to whoever is in charge of your building.

  • Check the gaps. Check the gaps around the top and sides of the door are consistently less than 4mm when closed. You can use a £1 coin to give a feel for scale; this is about 3mm thick. The gap under the door can be slightly larger (up to 8mm is not uncommon), but it does depend on the door - as a rule of thumb, if you can see light under the door, the gap is likely to be too big. It’s good news if the door fits the frame and it’s not damaged. If not, report it. If the gaps are too big smoke and fire could travel through the cracks.

  • Check the seals. Are there any intumescent seals around the door or frame, and are they intact with no sign of damage? These seals are usually vital to the fire door's performance, expanding if in contact with heat to ensure fire (and in some cases smoke) can’t move through the cracks. If not, report it - the door may not be properly maintained and in the intensity of a fire may not protect you long enough.

  • Check the hinges. Are the hinges firmly fixed (three or more of them), with no missing or broken screws? If you see problems, report it - the door is obviously not properly maintained and in the intensity of a fire may not perform and hold back the fire for long enough.

  • Check the door closes properly. Open the door about halfway, let go and allow it to close by itself. Does it close firmly onto the latch without sticking on the floor or the frame? If not, report it. A fire door only works when it’s closed. A fire door is completely useless if it’s wedged open or can’t close fully.

Tracey added: “The Service also advises that a working smoke alarm is fitted on each level of a home. These devices give an early warning signal to a fire starting and ensure that everyone in the property has time to escape safety.”

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