Fire Door Safety Week 2016 has biggest impact to date

This year’s Fire Door Safety Week 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 campaign ran from 26 September – 2 October 2016, raising awareness of the critical role that fire doors play in saving lives and protecting property.

Fire Door Safety Week 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 campaign focused on raising awareness of fire door safety in blocks of flats and shared accommodation. Residents of these types of buildings are difficult to evacuate quickly in the event of a fire, and therefore often have a ‘stay put’ fire plan instead. This means fire doors and fire compartmentation are vital for giving residents safe refuge from fire, smoke and toxic fumes.

Low-income families in the dark on fire safety

However, research conducted by Fire Door Safety Week has shown that vast numbers of people living in blocks of flats and shared accommodation haven’t received life-saving guidance on fire safety in their building.

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.

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.

Widespread support for this year's campaign

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 influencers, including the Fire Minister, Brandon Lewis MP, Ann Jones in the Welsh Assembly Government, the Government’s Chief Fire and Rescue Adviser, Peter Holland CBE, and Dan Daly, Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety at London Fire Brigade.

Highlights from some of the events and activities during the campaign included:

• A housing association in Sidcup agreed to replace 40-year old damaged front doors with proper fire doors after sustained lobbying by a resident and publicity from the campaign

• Major contractor Willmott Dixon issued a checklist to 3,000 staff to enable them to check the fire door nearest to them and report any concerns to the building manager

• LABC organised a CPD-accredited seminar for building control professionals, architects and builders

• The Association for Specialist Fire Protection organised a fire protection roundtable debate featuring leading names from the world of fire

• Press coverage for Fire Door Safety Week reached an estimated 2.1 million people, and the campaign and its critical safety messages featured in 18 items of radio and TV coverage on the first day of Fire Door Safety Week, reaching an additional 4.6 million people.

These interviews included input from a broader range of spokespeople than in previous years, including from London Fire Brigade, Peter Holland and householders who were themselves directly affected by fire door problems. This broadcast coverage reached an estimated 4.6 million listeners and viewers.

As always, Fire Door Safety Week was huge on social media, reaching another 2.1 million via 1,896 mentions and retweets on Twitter and a very successful ‘Thunderclap’ campaign across Twitter and Facebook, reaching just short of half a million people by this action alone.

The Fire Door Safety Week website attracted more than 5,000 visits including thousands of views for the toolkit which provides free promotional resources for others to use during the campaign.

Next year’s Fire Door Safety Week will be held from Monday 25 September to Sunday 1 October 2017.

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