Schools and colleges encouraged to get fire doors checked after months of closures

Schools and colleges encouraged to get fire doors checked after months of closures

With many schools, colleges and universities having been partially-closed throughout much of 2020, Fire Door Safety Week (20-26 September) offers a pertinent reminder for duty holders to ensure their fire doors are checked – especially if the annual assessment was missed last year, advises compliance specialist, Bureau Veritas.

Fire Door Safety Week was first launched in 2013, in response to a legacy of fire door neglect, and is managed by the British Woodworking Federation, with support from partners including London Fire Brigade (LFB), The National Fire Chief’s Council (NFCC) and the Home Office’s National Fire Safety campaign.

A fire door is vital for the safety of students, as it ensures that, should a fire break out, it can be contained in a “compartment”. This keeps the fire trapped for a certain amount of time, allowing people to escape and make the fire easier to tackle in one area. Building managers, business owners and duty holders have a responsibility to ensure that users of their property are safe – complying with UK Fire Legislation.

Lee Perry, Business Unit Manager – Fire & Life Safety Consultant at Bureau Veritas, said: “Properly fitted and maintained fire doors are critical to the safe evacuation of a building in the event of fire, forming part of the compartmentation of the building and helping to retain the fire in its compartment of origin. Poorly fitted and damaged fire doors allow smoke and heat into the escape routes within the building, which makes it much more difficult to evacuate and puts lives needlessly at risk.

“This Fire Door Safety Week offers a timely reminder to schools, offices and leisure facilities, which were closed for a large proportion of last year, of the importance of their fire doors. The onus is on the responsible person or duty holder for the institution – which could be the employer, the person responsible for all or part of the building, or a contractor with a degree of control over the premises for life safety.”

Fire door checks form part of a building’s Fire Risk Assessment and includes a checklist of 42 items to check on each door, including hinges, damage to the frame or door, checks for gaps and the door’s original certification label. If the door and its unit is found to have defects, it will need to be repaired or replaced, and re-certified.

Lee continues: “Whilst awareness of workplace health and safety is on the increase, too many organisations are still not aware of their legislative obligations when it comes to fire risk assessments – which is why many turn to a third party partner such as Bureau Veritas to support them in achieving and maintaining compliance.”

The specialist fire safety team at Bureau Veritas offers a range of services including fire door inspections, acting as the ‘Responsible Person’ to carry out a regular check of fire doors and monitor their condition for effective operation to mitigate the risk of smoke and fire spread in the event of a fire incident.

For more information about Bureau Veritas’ Fire Safety Engineering services, or to contact the fire safety team, click here.

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