Why you could have a death on your hands today

Why you could have a death on your hands today

The Chicago tower block residents didn’t want to kill a stranger. They were propping the door open to make it easier for their cats to get in and out. But the door was a fire door, so when fire struck, it was able to spread unchecked.

And that’s why a young woman died. She stepped into the lift to visit their floor. When the lift arrived and the door opened, she was engulfed in flames that had spread to the landing from their burning flat – through the space which should have been blocked by the fire door.

What makes that terrible incident so distressing is that at this very moment, somewhere not far from you, at least one fire door probably isn’t working as it should. It may be propped open or blocked by thoughtlessly-stored materials. It might be on your premises, or elsewhere in shared accommodation. Either way, it’s putting someone else’s life at risk.

And that’s why everyone at The Fire and Safety Centre is so supportive of Fire Door Safety Week, which takes place this year for only the second time, between September 15th and 21st. It is the brainchild of the British Woodworking Federation. It’s going to take time to get the message home – organisers of the week say so far this year fines of £70,000 and a 15-month prison sentence have been handed down in cases involving fire doors.

Fire Door SignAt least 8,000 new fire doors are bought and installed in the UK every day. We’re committed to doing our bit to make sure they’re installed correctly and to ensure that if an automatic fire door retainer is in use it conforms to BS7273-4 category B. We’re following it on Twitter with #FireDoorSafetyWeek , and we’ll be tweeting about it too, drawing the attention of all our customers to the valuable lessons it offers.

The story of the Chicago fire is not a fabrication. Nor is what I say about fire doors being propped open. You can’t change the past for the Chicago woman, but you could change the future for someone else. Would now be a good time to check your fire doors aren’t blocked or illegally propped open, do you think? Or would you rather live the rest of your life with the knowledge that your failure to act cost someone theirs?

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