They may appear to be a fairly mundane piece of equipment lurking unobtrusively in an office or a flat doing the same job as every other door in the building.
But our answer to the above question is a resounding yes. Never ever underestimate the value of having them. They are capable of saving lives and saving property. They are an engineered safety device and an absolutely essential part of your passive fire protection system. There are around 3 million new fire doors bought and installed annually in UK commercial, public and multiple occupancy buildings. But it’s very easy to overlook their importance and that alone makes the safety week worthwhile as far as we’re concerned. Once they’re installed, they’re unobtrusive. Unfortunately that’s why they often end up being completely overlooked when it comes to maintaining them properly. But fire doors are frequently the first line of defence in a fire and if they’ve been incorrectly specified, maintained or managed it could seriously limit their effectiveness if a fire broke out. Fires follow the line of least resistance. So if it’s spread to a corridor it will consume the space in seconds, racing along as it reacts to air flows. That means anyone in a room off the corridor will have lost their escape route within moments. But a fire door will delay the fire, giving people precious seconds to get out safely.

What’s Fire Door Safety Week 2015 trying to achieve?

Fire Door Safety Week, which takes place between 14th - 20th September is organised by the BWF (British Woodworking Federation) Certifire Scheme and the FDIS (Fire Door Inspection Scheme). It aims to raise awareness of the vital role fire doors have as well as remind people about the need to install them properly and maintain them as you would any other piece of fire safety equipment. That means checking they’re operating properly and are in good condition – and doing something about it if they aren’t.
It also has some broader aims to educate people about the correct use of fire doors. Some – for example, those who work in the building industry – are likely to have a better grasp of requirements. But others may not and it’s essential that’s addressed. And the safety week also gives an opportunity for businesses with a shared interest in fire safety to support one another and help get the message out there.

Tips for checking your fire doors

If you want to give your fire doors a quick check over right now, here are 4 simple things you can do to spot any immediate problems.
  • Check fire doors close properly around all parts of the frame. Make sure the gap between the door and the frame is no greater than 3mm.
  • Inspect the door for damage. Check its edges, hinges, handles, windows and seals.
  • Make sure fire doors aren’t blocked or wedged open.
  • Check that the right signage is in place.
If you think the gap is more than it should be or the door looks worn in any way, you need to arrange a proper inspection by a qualified fire door inspector.

Can you get involved with the safety week?

This campaign needs to reach as many people as possible and you can help by promoting it to others. You could let your customers or tenants know about it through newsletters or by putting the logo onto your own website. If you’d like to do more you can visit thefire door safety week website for further ideas.
There have been some heart-breaking reports about deaths and injuries that potentially could have been prevented had adequate fire doors been in place. If the publicity from this safety week helps avoid just one death or injury in the future then we think you’ll agree it’s done its job.


Alright, we know, terrible joke but we couldn’t resist. Chimney fire safety week takes place from 7th to 13th September (it’s a busy month for safety weeks!). It may feel a bit early to be talking about chimney safety. But actually it’s a good time of year to address any maintenance needs so chimneys are in full working order before the start of autumn. Chimney fires aren’t just a domestic property risk. Even though real fires tend to be associated with creating a warm cosy atmosphere at home, plenty of commercial premises use them too. And if you have a gas fire, for example, you might think you’re not at risk. But that’s not necessarily the case. Chimney fires usually result from a build-up of creosote and debris like soot or ash from open fires and log burners. But if you have an open chimney behind your fire, there’s also a risk of accumulation of debris behind it. When the fire’s switched on, the heat ignites the debris and that could cause a chimney fire. So chimney fire safety week is a timely reminder for many of us. Here are some suggestions about what you should be doing now so you’re ready when the temperatures start to drop.


The frequency of maintenance depends on the fuel you burn. If you’re an oil or gas user, have your chimney swept once a year. If you use smokeless or bituminous coals you should aim for twice a year. If you burn wood, it needs to be up to 4 times a year. Inspect your chimney regularly, including in the roof space if possible, to make sure sparks or fumes cannot escape through any cracks or broken bricks.


Anyone guilty of throwing something into a real fire that probably shouldn’t be in there...? No public admissions of guilt required but do remember the importance of only using the correct fuel for your fire. In particular, avoid burning unseasoned wet wood and never use accelerants. Don’t over stack the fuel or overload the grate. Make sure your appliance gets enough air to allow the fuel to burn properly and always use a fire or spark guard to prevent accidental fires. It’s also a good idea to avoid putting anything on the mantelpiece which you’ll need regularly so you aren’t constantly stretching over the fire to get it. And of course, it’s vital you always let the fire burn out before you go to bed or leave the premises.


Be careful with storage in your roof space. We’re prone to having our lofts bulging with all sorts but don’t store possessions too close to the chimney breast as it creates a potential fire hazard. If a fire ignites in the chimney, the bricks in the roof space can become hot enough to potentially set fire to any combustible material close by, causing an even worse fire.


If you’re replacing your appliance make sure you buy the right size for the room it’ll be used in. Don’t be tempted into thinking a large appliance will give you extra heat as it will actually increase the risk of unburned fuel going up the chimney as smoke and condensing as creosote.


A faulty appliance, a lack of sufficient ventilation or a blocked chimney means a greater risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. So while you’re checking your smoke alarms as part of your chimney fire safety routine make sure you’re installing carbon monoxide detectors too.
If you’d like further information about chimney safety, there are a number of websites you may find helpful including The National Association of Chimney Sweeps, The Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps, The Institute of Chimney Sweeps and The Association of Professional and Independent Chimney Sweeps.


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