Even without the shocking and tragic events at Grenfell Tower in the equation, the amount of people dying in fire incidents in the UK is shocking.
5.5 people in every million people in England died in fires in 2015-16. That rises to a horrifying 19.5 in the over 80 age bracket. Yet still not every home in the country has a working smoke alarm.
Perhaps most shocking of all is that people living in shared and rented accommodation are 7 times more likely to die in a fire. A chilling statistic in the light of the events at Grenfell.
Fire Door Safety Week (25 Sep – 1 Oct 2017) aims to highlight the importance of fire doors in preventing the spread of fire, protecting escape routes and aiding fire fighters. The organisation, set up to train and certify qualified fire door inspectors, found that over 61% of the doors it inspected had fire or smoke seals either missing, installed incorrectly or not filling perimeter gaps correctly. Almost a fifth had unsuitable hinges. Over a third had excessive gaps between the door and its frame. And those figures don’t even include doors which had been wedged open illegally or whose closer had been disabled.
As the inquiry into the Grenfell disaster gets underway, it is vital to maintain pressure on Responsible Persons (under the RRO) to take the important role of fire doors seriously and to increase budgets for their specification, installation and maintenance.