Fire door campaigners call on UK government to set up building safety fund

Fire door campaigners are urging the UK government to set up a building safety fund to finance fire safety improvements in local authority and housing association accommodation. A survey conducted by Inside Housing of 31 local councils whose tower blocks failed fire safety checks found that none had received any financial assistance from central government to carry out work.

Hannah Mansell, spokesperson for Fire Door Safety Week (FDSW), said: “We know that the necessary corrective actions will cost and that is why we are asking the government to set up a building safety fund for housing associations and local authorities to carry out replacement and repair works. Finance should not be used as an excuse. The stakes are too high.”

Now in its sixth year, FDSW will run from the 24-30 September. The 2018 campaign, titled Fire Door Five: Shutting the door on fire and smoke, aims to draw attention to the importance of properly-fitted and accredited fire doors, raise awareness of the dangers of smoke inhalation and the role that correctly installed fire doors can play in preventing the spread of both fire and smoke.

Organisers warn that many fire doors across the UK are still badly fitted, non-compliant, left propped open or damaged. Mansell, who is also British Woodworking Federation (BWF) head of technical research and insight, chair of the Passive Fire Protection Forum and a trustee of the Children’s Burns Trust, said: “Through Fire Door Safety Week, we will once more renew our efforts to ensure that residents, landlords and building owners across the UK are armed with the information they need to make informed decisions that will improve safety.

“There is no doubt that fire doors, fully fitted with their correct and compatible components that are properly installed and maintained play a crucial role in saving lives in the event of a fire. The legacy of neglect means more lives could be lost as a result of substandard fire protection measures. “Tenants and the general public will, as always, play a key part and get their voices heard by reporting doors that are propped open, damaged or in poor condition, rather than waiting for landlords or building owners to inspect fire doors. As part of Fire Door Safety Week, we have created a Five Step Fire Door Check to help people check their fire doors and empower them to report faulty doors.