Businesses re-opening after the easing of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions are being reminded to keep fire doors closed to protect premises, customers and staff.

The advice comes from Cumbria County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service, which says fire doors should never be propped open as they play a crucial role in fire protection.

Stuart Hook, Protection Manager at Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Fire doors save lives and protect property.

“They’re often the first line of defence in a fire and, if fitted, maintained and managed correctly, can be the difference between life and death.

“Businesses reopening after lockdown may well have made changes to the layout of their premises to meet government guidelines and help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

“It might be tempting to leave fire doors propped open to discourage touching of door handles, but we would strongly advise to keep fire doors closed and follow government advice on handwashing and cleansing hard surfaces.”

The service has produced a short video to show how effective correctly fitted fire doors can be at preventing fires, and how ineffective they can be if fitted incorrectly.

People should make sure they use fire doors and that they are fitted and managed correctly.

To people who suspect the building they’re living in, working in or visiting has a faulty fire door, they must not walk by.

Instead, they should report it to whoever manages or owns the building.

By following these instructions, that person could save a life that day.

Fire doors are a critical element in preventing the spread of fire and smoke, and it should be everybody’s responsibility in a shared building to make sure that they are fit for purpose.