Friday 18 October 2013

Fire Door Safety Week is a roaring success

The UK’s inaugural Fire Door Safety Week has been hailed a huge success, reaching in excess of 6.5 million people over the period and resulting in significant political support from the Fire Minister and an important legacy of industry initiatives which will improve fire safety.

Fire Door Safety Week was the brainchild of the British Woodworking Federation (BWF) and BWF-CERTIFIRE Scheme, and united the fire door industry to raise greater awareness of the critical role of fire doors. It ran from 16 September, and received extensive backing from trade associations, housing associations, manufacturers, suppliers and fire and rescue services across the country.

Among Fire Door Safety Week’s 47 official supporters were the Government’s Fire Kills campaign, the Association for Specialist Fire Protection, the Passive Fire Protection Association, the Institute of Fire Prevention Officers, and major property and construction groups such as the National Landlords Association, the Federation of Private Residents’ Associations, the Federation of Master Builders, Construction Products Association, Builders Merchants Federation, National Social Housing Fire Strategy Group and UK Contractors Group.

The Fire Door Safety Week website received over 4,000 visits during the week from 3,003 unique visitors. There were more than 2,600 page views for the toolkit which gave users access to downloadable promotional items for the campaign, videos and fire door fact cards.

The campaign also took off on social media, with almost 2 million impressions generated from Twitter alone, and led to more than 1,600 views of the latest Theodore Firedoor video which revealed the awful state of fire doors in one major city hospital.

A radio campaign on the second day of Fire Door Safety Week resulted in 22 items of coverage on leading regional and local stations, reaching 2.7 million listeners across all English regions.

Fire Door Safety Week drew attention to specific issues such as poor installation and maintenance, and encouraged building owners and users to check the operation and condition of their fire doors. It focused on getting critical sectors, such as healthcare and hotels, to understand the correct specification, supply, installation, operation, inspection and maintenance of fire doors in their buildings.

Iain McIlwee, BWF chief executive, and John Fletcher, scheme manager of BWF-CERTIFIRE met with the Fire Minister Brandon Lewis MP at the end of the campaign to discuss the issues surrounding fire door safety. The Minister was fully supportive of Fire Door Safety Week returning in 2014 and expressed a desire to learn more about the fire door industry.

Summarising the week, Iain McIlwee stated:
“The campaign was really encouraging, but there are about 3 million new fire doors bought and installed every year in the UK, the vast majority made from timber. In a recent review of 100 cases prosecuted under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, fire doors were the second highest reason for prosecutions.

“In many cases, incorrect doors and components are specified or brought onto site. And even when fire doors are correctly specified and installed, a recent survey among fire risk assessors revealed that 80% of the escape routes they saw were obstructed, 65% of fire doors were wedged open and 85% had door closers disconnected.

“With a challenge of this scale, one thing is certain - Fire Door Safety Week will return next year.”

To get involved in Fire Door Safety Week 2014 or to access resources from the week, contact


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