London Fire Brigade

Brigade backs national fire safety door campaign

25 September 2017

We are reminding landlords and tenants about the crucial role played by fire safety doors after new statistics reveal the shocking extent to which this potentially life saving piece of engineering is being misused.

Forty per cent of renters admit seeing fire doors left open

Today marks the start of Fire Door Safety Week, a national campaign run by the British Woodworking Federation. Research undertaken as part of the campaign has found that nearly 40% of renters in purpose built blocks of flats admit to having seen fire doors propped open, while a fifth say they have noticed damage to their building’s fire doors.

Two of the major concerns raised regularly by our fire safety officers when they visit high rise buildings are residents who replace vital fire doors at the entrance to their properties with doors that don’t meet the required safety standards and people who removing the self-closing mechanism on their fire doors to prevent themselves from getting accidentally locked out.

Public and firefighters being put at risk

London Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton said:

“London Fire Brigade fully supports Fire Door Safety Week. This is an important campaign which drives home the potentially life saving role that fire doors play in buildings, especially residential buildings such as tower blocks. It is extremely concerning that the lives of the public and our firefighters are still being put at risk by poorly maintained fire doors and people acting irresponsibly by removing self closers, keeping  doors wedged open or even in some cases replacing them.”

“Good fire doors help stop fires from spreading. Fires that spread put more lives at risk and I would urge everyone to check that their fire doors are properly maintained and kept shut. Remember they don’t just protect you, but everybody in the building.”

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.

If you live in a purpose built block of flats and are unsure whether your flat front door or doors which open onto communal areas meet the correct fire door safety standards contact your landlord.

Tenants and landlords can access more important fire safety information here.

About the research

Independent research commissioned by the British Woodworking Federation, conducted by Atomik Research. 1,000 renters across the UK aged 18-65 in the UK were surveyed in August 2017.