Majority of renters left in dark on basic fire safety measures
New research has shown three months after the Grenfell Tower disaster that the majority of tenants still feel left in the dark when it comes to fire safety. The study of more than 1,000 tenants in August 2017, commissioned by the British Woodworking Federation and released to mark Fire Door Safety Week, showed 55% of tenants do not feel fully prepared on what to do in the event of a fire. It also showed some 40% of renters said there was not a clear fire escape route displayed in their building.
More than a third of tenants (39%) said they had seen fire doors propped open as well. Renters also complained about damage to their building s fire doors 21% and just under a fifth (18%) said they reported a safety infringement or concern to their landlord but a quarter waited weeks for a response. Landlords Research also revealed that 10% of social landlords and 23% of private landlords had been in contact with tenants since the Grenfell disaster to discuss fire safety measures. As a result of the disaster, a quarter of adults surveyed feel more nervous/anxious about living in a rented apartment since the tragedy and the issues it exposed with regard to fire safety. Free toolkit A free toolkit of resources has been put together by the British Woodworking Federation (BWF) to provide information and fire safety advice, including a downloadable Responsible Person poster. Further information for fire, health and safety professionals can be found at firedoorsafetyweek.co.uk/advice/ Hannah Mansell, a spokesperson for Fire Door Safety Week, as well as BWF technical manager, chair of the Passive Fire Protection Forum and a trustee of the Children s Burns Trust, said: This new research shows that landlords and building owners still have a long way to go meet their fire safety responsibilities. It is astounding to learn that in the last three months so little has been done to address the concerns of tenants and residents. Many people do not realise that the real job of a fire door is to hold back fire, smoke and toxic gases, delaying the spread around a building and keeping the vital means of escape route clear. They only work properly if they are specified, manufactured, installed and maintained correctly, and of course, closed when a fire breaks out.
This is especially important in high rise buildings, houses of multiple occupancy and other types of shared sleeping accommodation. Checking fire doors should be part of a regular fire risk assessment. This should examine all aspects of fire safety management, including active and passive fire protection measures, signage, means of escape and the specific fire plan procedures. There needs to be crystal clarity about the Responsible Person and a total transformation of attitude towards fire safety of tenants in rented accommodation. Our focus for Fire Door Safety Week in this pivotal year is to ensure all landlords and tenants have the knowledge and resources they need to stay safe. Life-changing role of fire doors Dany Cotton, London Fire Commissioner who oversaw the fire and rescue service s response at Grenfell Tower, said: London Fire Brigade fully supports Fire Door Safety Week. This is an important campaign which drives home the potentially life-saving role that fire doors play in buildings, especially residential buildings such as tower blocks. It is extremely concerning that the lives of the public and our firefighters are still being put at risk by poorly maintained fire doors and people acting irresponsibly by removing self closers or by keeping doors wedged open. Good fire doors help stop fires from spreading.
Fires that spread put more lives at risk and I would urge everyone to check that their fire doors are properly maintained and kept shut. Remember they don t just protect you, but everybody in the building. Paul Fuller CBE, chief fire officer of Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service and chairman of the Fire Sector Federation, said: It is simple. Proper fire doors save lives, but only if they are correctly made and installed, and certainly not if they are wedged open or in disrepair. Too often our officers walk into a building and see fire doors in an appalling state. We do what we can to advise and enforce the responsibilities of a building owner, but it is time for the Responsible Person to really step up. That s why we are supporting Fire Door Safety Week there can be no excuse, all the resources you need to promote door safety are there on the website and free to download. National campaign Fire Door Safety Week, a national campaign now in its fifth year, is run by the BWF, the BWF-Certifire Scheme and the Fire Door Inspection Scheme, in partnership with the Government s Fire Kills campaign. It aims to raise awareness about the role of fire doors in preventing life changing injuries and the legal responsibilities of managing fire door safety.
Fire Door Safety Week 2017 took place from 25th September 1st October. This article originally appeared on IFSEC Global s sister site in health & safety, SHP Online Free Download: A Technical Guide to Fire Detection and Alarm Systems Fire legislation, which is written for the purpose of life safety, requires duty holders in non-domestic premises to assess fire risks and put in place arrangements for the prevention of fire and to protect people from fire when it occurs. This guide provides an overview of the need to know information for fire detection and alarm systems and your legal requirements, key actions, key terms and more.
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