Fire doors - critical in saving lives and protecting property in social housing

Saffron Housing has more than 5,500 properties across East Anglia and is currently building a further 400 to 500 new homes annually. We are a significant and rapidly growing social housing provider that puts the safety of its tenants and staff at the forefront of everything it does.

While I have worked in various roles where fire doors were part of my remit, I had not had any formal training. So when I was told about the Fire Door Inspection Scheme (FDIS) online education programme, which can be studied wherever and whenever you want, I was really interested to find out more. A particularly attractive element was that each module had self-tests so I could assess my knowledge as I went along and as many times as I needed before I went on to sit an examination that led to the FDIS Diploma in Fire Doors. Saffron Housing has a commitment to support staff training as they did with this additional qualification.

Studying for the diploma verified the knowledge I already had and also taught me new information, enabling me to manage fire doors more cost effectively, while increasing our tenants’ safety. These may sound like contradictory statements but trust me they’re not. For example, I know exactly what constitutes a competent repair so will never compromise safety but will equally not replace doors unnecessarily. I was already performing perfectly competent fire door inspections and could carry out most aspects myself but appreciate what additional expertise FDIS and other sources offer to complement our in-house knowledge. My increased awareness also means I can direct resources more effectively. So, for example, I can identify which fire doors are most important to inspect most frequently and which can be left for longer periods because, for example, they are in an area where fire safety is managed by equipment other than fire doors. All of this benefits tenants, staff and Saffron Housing’s financial efficiency.

With different fire door manufacturers promoting various certification schemes and the issues around installing them correctly including using appropriate hinges, seals, signage, it’s a complicated area that requires specialist training and education. I found that the FDIS Diploma programme offered just the right level of detail for me without being too onerous. So if fire doors in social housing are part of your responsibilities you may want to check it out.