When you carry out a fire drill there is no real fire so people have very little idea of what it would be like in a real fire emergency.
Fire drills are carried out regularly and they probably seen as anything from a minor inconvenience to a break from work. However you only have to see the lack of urgency with which people leave during a planned or unplanned fire drill, often stopping to collect bags, cigarettes, mobiles and other personal possessions.
The reality is that it’s impossible to replicate smoke and other fire hazards. If a real fire was in progress people would have to deal with situations far different to those they are familiar with, with routes and exits usually accessed, inaccessible.
Nobody notices whether fire doors are propped open or not during a fire drill – it doesn’t make any difference, but it does when there’s a real fire.
Fires respond to drauts and air flows with the fire travelling along the path of least resistance. If it reaches a corridor it can race along the space in seconds, destroying any means of escape for people in the rooms either side of the corridor.
That’s where a fire door really comes into its own. It stops the fire in its tracks for a period of time long enough for people ahead to get out by the nearest fire exit.
Fire doors are an amazing safety device – and dangerous when left open. Leaving fire doors wedged or propped open disregards the safety of others. It is also against the law. 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.
Fire Safety Week runs from the 15th to the 21st September to raise awareness of the importance of Fire Safety procedure and to raise awareness of the critical role of fire doors, drawing attention to specific issues such as poor installation and maintenance.
For more information, please see Fire Door Safety Week‘s website.