2020 Fire Door Safety Week Campaign
Fire Door Safety Week 2020, a national awareness campaign that highlights the role fire doors play in keeping people and property safe and the importance of good fire door safety practice, took place from 21 to 27 September.
The 2020 campaign emphasised the significant role fire doors play in protecting life and property, with a particular focus on the state of, and importance of fire door maintenance, inspection, and replacement programmes.
When it comes to fire door inspections, fire doors can become damaged at any time, especially where they are frequently used. If a damaged door goes unidentified it cannot perform its life-saving role. As such, regular inspection along with any necessary maintenance and replacement work is essential.
During the Fire Door Safety Week 2020 campaign, we shared our research into the state of fire door maintenance, inspection and replacement programmes across local authority owned and managed housing in the UK. The research looked at planned fire door works and inspections between January and June 2020. Specifically, we explored if any delays occurred and if they did, the number of fire doors affected and whether plans for recommencing scheduled works have been put in place.
According to the data obtained from 147 local authorities that own and manage their own housing stock, at least 26,318 fire doors were scheduled for maintenance or replacement between January and June 2020, but 16,580 did not progress – meaning 63% of individual planned works were delayed until at least the second half of the year, affecting a minimum of 9,954 individual properties.
Not all responding local authorities provided reasons for delay, but over half (53%) of those experiencing delays cited COVID-19-related restrictions, including limited property access and availability of contractors due to social distancing guidelines. However, it was positive that several local authorities proactively mentioned that emergency repair works to fire doors continued throughout the lockdown period to maintain the safety of residents and 65% of the respondents said that work would recommence by the end of 2020.
It’s clear COVID-19 has understandably impacted on service delivery across a variety of sectors, but fires don’t stop. With the virus forcing many people to spend more time at home, people without fit for purpose fire doors have been put at risk. There is a need for continued and urgent focus on ensuring the safety of all building occupants whether in local authority or privately-rented accommodation, workplaces or other building types.
We continue to encourage regular inspection, maintenance, and replacement of fire doors.
A wealth of fire door information and guidance is available free of charge from the Fire Door Safety Week Toolkit, including the Fire Step Fire Door Check, which easily helps to identify fire doors that are not fit for purpose.