Fire safety is a vital concern in domestic and commercial properties, as the smallest oversight can lead to serious consequences. Although there’s been a downward trend in casualties and fire fatalities over the last ten years, there are numerous fire-related accidents every day. There is clearly still plenty of room for improvement, particularly as an aging population and an increasing reliance on social housing is creating the opportunity for further fire-related incidents.
The latest statistics
The Fire Statistics Monitor for April 2014 to March 2015 is the government’s most recent report on all fire and rescue incidents and fire casualty data to date. There is good news in comparison to the same period in 2013–2014.
- Fire fatalities and non-fatal hospital casualties have both fallen by 6%.
- Fire and rescue services attended 154,700 fires in 2014–15, which is the second lowest amount on record.
- False alarms counted for 44% of all callouts by fire and rescue services.
Despite this encouraging picture there are real causes for concern. It’s clear that 80% of all fire-related fatalities occur in private homes, affordable housing, private rental properties and care homes. The fire fatality rate is four times higher for people aged 80 and over. With people living much longer there is plenty of room for this situation to deteriorate. Financial constraints are also forcing more people into the rental sector. This is particularly worrying if you consider that in London alone 23 fire safety enforcement notices were issued to housing associations in 2014–15, in respect of faulty fire doors.
Fire hazards in homes and workplaces arise in similar ways.
- Faulty appliances and wiring and overloaded sockets cause 6,000 fires a year.
- Fires caused by cigarettes lead to a fatality every six days.
- Heaters start two fires a day.
- Failure to correctly store combustible materials such as paint, solvents, adhesives, wood and paper result in numerous fires.
- Accumulated waste materials have the same effect.
- Arson is a major cause of workplace fires.
- Cooking accidents are the cause of half of all domestic fires and cause problems in commercial premises as well.
- Candles result in two fire incidents per day.
How to reduce the risk of fire
With care and common sense the majority of fires can be prevented. Correct storage of flammable items, regular checks of electric appliances, smoke detectors, heat alarms and fire blankets all provide additional protection to people and property. Even simple measures can have a big effect – for example cooking pans and burning cigarettes should never be left unattended.
Despite the best-laid plans, fires still break out. Everyone in the building must be aware of evacuation procedures, exit routes and the location of fire extinguishers. If everyone is familiar with the emergency plan there’s more likelihood of bringing a dangerous situation under control quickly.
Latham’s Fire-Rated Steel Doors
Latham’s fire-rated doors are a highly effective way of protecting people and minimising damage to property if the worst happens.
By installing fire-rated doors in your home or workplace you’ll compartmentalise the building and safeguard the escape routes. The smoke seals in the frame will expand in the heat to securely seal the door. This contains the flames and prevents the spread of smoke – an essential function as smoke is the main cause of injury and death during a fire. The doors provide resistance to smoke and fire for a minimum of 30 minutes. This gives the occupants enough time to reach safety and for the emergency services to arrive.
Our complete doorsets (fire door assemblies) include the doorframe, panels, hinges, locks, handles and seals. We can also fit retainers to hold the door ajar. These will automatically release and close the door in the event of a fire (don’t forget that it’s illegal to wedge open fire doors, so this is an ideal way to enable ease of access under normal circumstances). For a comprehensive guide to fire doors and how they can be used to protect your property, read our article here. The latest fire statistics show promising trends, but this doesn’t mean you should ignore fire safety.
Contribute towards positive fire statistics with a well-secured, fire-safe property. For more details on protecting your property with fire-rated steel doors call Latham’s Steel Security Doorsets on +44 (0) 1384 220 050 or contact us here.