Early evaluation of this year’s Fire Door Safety Week campaign indicates the initiative was the most successful to date, with supporters up by more than a third on 2015, and almost 300% higher than when the campaign first began in 2013.
The week ran from 26 September – 2 October 2016, raising awareness of the critical role that fire doors play in saving lives and protecting property.
The campaign is organised by the British Woodworking Federation, the BWF-Certifire Scheme and the Fire Door Inspection Scheme, in partnership with the Government’s safety campaign, Fire Kills.
This year the focus was firmly on fire door safety and knowledge of residents in blocks of flats and shared accommodation. Such residents are difficult to evacuate quickly in a fire emergency and often have a ‘stay put’ fire plan. The role of fire doors and fire compartmentation are important in providing safe refuge for residents, holding back deadly fire smoke and toxic fumes until the fire can be bought under control.
There were 39,600 dwelling fires in Great Britain in 2013-14, the equivalent of 108 fires in our homes every day.
Research by the campaign revealed that just a third of the lowest income households renting flats say they have been given information on the emergency fire plan for the building where they live, compared to 88% of tenants on incomes over £100,000 a year. Two out of every nine lower income households living in rented flats who have concerns over fire safety said they were unable to move because they can’t afford to.
The research also showed that more than half of all tenants, and over 70% of lower income tenants, have no idea who the ‘Responsible Person’ is for the building where they live – the person to whom they should usually report their fire safety concerns. Worryingly, 15% of all tenants living in blocks of flats who have got fire safety concerns have never reported those concerns to anyone at all.
This year’s Fire Door Safety Week campaign achieved the active involvement of 174 organisations, including housing and construction companies, fire and rescue services, and a wide range of businesses involved in the fire door supply chain. It also attracted high profile support from key individuals, including the Fire Minister, Brandon Lewis MP.
The dates for next year’s campaign have been set for Monday 25th September to Sunday 1st October 2017.
Hannah Mansell, BWF Technical Manager and campaign spokesperson said: “We are delighted with the reach of the campaign. There was a real buzz, and by the time we factor in the reach achieved by our supporters’ own communications and other organisations’ newsletters, we are confident we will have reached well over the 10 million mark by the end of the year.
“Fire door safety is not just about one week a year. This is why we are encouraging a proactive approach to embedding fire safety awareness into all areas, launching a year of fire door safety in 2017. We will be doing more to draw attention to fire door safety throughout the whole year, as well as seeking to promote and celebrate those building owners, organisations and landlords who genuinely take their legal and moral duties seriously.”