London Fire Brigade

Don't replace your fire safety doors

15 September 2014

Our fire safety inspectors are urging Londoners living in purpose built blocks or houses converted into flats not to replace vital fire doors at the entrance to their properties with doors that don’t meet the required safety standards.

People living in flats who are removing the self-closing mechanism on their fire doors to prevent themselves from getting accidentally locked out is also a real concern.

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.

Why are fire doors so important?

• they are specifically designed to withstand fire for up to 30 minutes
• they are a legal requirement for flats which open onto communal areas shared with other tenants. This is to make sure crucial escape routes are protected if a fire breaks out.
• they are designed to automatically close behind you in the event of fire, holding flames back and stopping the spread of the fire and toxic smoke into escape routes, corridors and other flats in the block.

What our experts say

Our Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety Regulation Steve Turek said: “You wouldn’t remove seatbelts from your car so why remove fire doors from your home?  Fire doors are specially designed to automatically close behind you in the event of fire, holding flames back 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.

What to do

Contact your local council Building Control department for advice on how to check if your door meets fire safety regulations. You can also visit Trust Mark to find Government endorsed trades people.

The calls for Londoners to be more aware of fire doors comes coincides with the launch of Fire Safety Door Week.