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How to reopen safely: a guide to hygiene control and ventilation

How to reopen safely: a guide to hygiene control and ventilation

With the end of lockdown 3.0 in sight, people are starting to reopen their businesses, children have returned to school and ‘normal’ life is resuming. Some people are booking haircuts, planning their next getaway and scheduling catch-ups with friends. 

On the other hand, some are hesitant at the prospect of going back to normal. We are just coming out of our third lockdown and could enter another if the R rate increases again. And, with the knowledge that around 40% of people are asymptomatic, being around others can create feelings of anxiety. You could spend time with someone who seems fine but could still have the virus and pass it on. 

This raises the question – how can we create an environment that not only keeps people safe but makes them feel safe? 

Things to consider when reopening your business

Some elements of creating a Covid-secure environment are easier said than done. Plus, many hygiene measures are open to human error. 

One of the main methods we’ve followed is the Government’s “Hands, Face, Space” campaign. We know about hand washing and sanitising, wearing masks and creating a 2-metre distance between ourselves and others. But how do we apply this when putting together a reopening strategy?

What are touchpoints?

Touchpoints are items or places throughout a building that are used by lots of people. These can include water machines, access control buttons, photocopiers or door handles. Such high-traffic objects can be cause for concern as they can allow for cross-contamination. 

Research shows that the virus can survive on surfaces from a few hours up to days. Making hand hygiene and reducing touchpoints a vital part of controlling the spread of the virus.

People aren’t using hand sanitiser units

As previously mentioned, human error can result in even the most robust hygiene measures becoming redundant. People may simply not notice the sanitiser units available or the signs on display. 

Stephen Peppercorn, Facilities Officer at Monmouthshire County Council found that even after implementing hygiene measures around his building in line with government advice, they weren’t being used. Stephen explained, “Hand sanitiser units had been installed throughout the buildings and in both reception areas with A5 printed signage above the units. Unfortunately, this did not draw attention to the units.”

How to increase the use of hand sanitiser and reduce touchpoints 

Stephen installed our Germgard Station, a portable stand that uses a sensor and digital signage to attract the attention of passers-by, prompting them to use the hand sanitiser before they move through the building.

Stephen says, “It has improved hand sanitisation and Covid safety because of increased use. It has also enhanced the Council’s reputation with the unit making a statement that we take Covid safety seriously and are encouraging all building attendees to undertake hand sanitisation.”

Having clear Covid-safe measures in place is an important way of making employees and visitors feel safe whilst also encouraging good hygiene practices. 

Why is ventilation so important?

Ventilation is the newest addition to COVID safety measures, recently mentioned by Sir Patrick Vallance when discussing the reopening of schools. Professor Cath Noakes, who studies the transmission of diseases, also recently discussed in an interview how good ventilation throughout a building can reduce the risk of pathogen inhalation by 70%.

Diagram showing how to improve ventilation by creating fresh air inlets and exhausts for old air.

The best way to improve ventilation is by opening your windows and doors in a way that creates an inlet for fresh air and an exhaust for the old air. Opening windows is an easy step to increasing fresh air. However, many buildings have fire doors fitted and it’s dangerous to wedge these open. 

How can I hold my fire doors open legally?

Fire doors are in place to prevent the spread of smoke and flames when a fire breaks out. They can save lives and property. If fire doors are wedged open, fire can take over a whole building within minutes. 

Specialist door retainers and closers, like our Dorgard or Freedor, are made to hold fire doors open safely and legally.  They release the door to close upon fire alarm activation, allowing the door to prevent the spread of fire. 

Holding fire doors open encourages airflow throughout your building. Open doors also minimise the need to touch door handles, reducing touchpoints.

Implementing clear hygiene measures in your building will help you welcome back staff, customers and visitors and make them feel instantly at ease. Placing Germgard at the entrance to your building will ensure that everyone who enters has sanitised their hands, reducing cross-contamination. By installing Dorgard and Freedor, you’re opening up the building, people can see others approaching and stay 2-metres apart, and you’re reducing touchpoints whilst encouraging airflow. 

Do you need help with your return strategy or to reopen your business safely? Our simple solutions provide an easy way for you to keep your building COVID-secure and fire safe. Call us on 01273 320650 for more information or visit our online shop to order your hygiene products.

Win a Dorgard!

Win a Dorgard!

We want to help our customers reopen their businesses safely and keep their premises COVID-secure!

With the lockdown roadmap in place and restrictions being gradually lifted, there is a light at the end of the tunnel! However, it is still vital to keep hygiene measures in place to help prevent the spread of the virus. Since the beginning of the pandemic, there has been a consistent emphasis on hand hygiene, mask-wearing and a 2-metre distance. Later on down the line, ventilation was also recommended by the government, including Sir Patrick Vallance, as an important way to fight the spread of the virus. 

Win a Dorgard and reopen safely

We have been assisting our customers to keep their premises COVID-secure and fire safe, with our simple and easy solutions. We have had a lot of feedback about how much our products have helped and we want to be able to help even further with businesses reopening safely after what we hope is the last lockdown!

What is Dorgard?

Dorgard is a fire door retainer that allows you to hold your internal fire doors open. Upon the sound of the fire alarm, Dorgard will close the door, preventing the spread of smoke and fire. By holding your doors open you are reducing touchpoints on door handles and improving ventilation throughout your building.

How to enter

We are running our competition across all of our social media platforms. All you need to do is follow the social account, like the competition post and share it to your profile – tag us so we’re notified when you’ve shared it.

Facebook

Twitter

LinkedIn

Instagram

Terms and conditions

The competition launches 15th April and ends on the 6th May at 5pm. The winner will be picked at random and announced Monday 10th May. UK entries only, you must be over 18 to join in, no resellers. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram are not affiliated with our competition in any way.

Are you in control of the fire safety compliance for your property portfolio?

Are you in control of the fire safety compliance for your property portfolio?

Since Grenfell, fire safety in social housing has been in the spotlight. The standard of existing fire safety has been scrutinised and reviewed, with terms such as stay-put policy, EWS1 forms, The Hackitt Report, and ACM cladding all becoming household topics of discussion. Billions of pounds are being spent on Type 4 Fire Risk Assessments (FRA), cladding removal, door replacement programmes and waking watch. Housing groups are now putting more and more pressure on manufacturers and contractors to provide them with the assurance of compliance, with BIM and the Golden Thread becoming the expectation rather than the exception.

With the evolution of regulations and requirements, it may seem like there is a lot to keep on top of and checking all buildings efficiently can be more challenging. This raises the question: what can we do to keep on top of the ever-changing demands of a compliant and fire safe building?

Problem 1: Door closers are often damaged or stolen

An Inside Housing analysis of Grenfell survivors’ statements revealed that out of 81 flats, 46 of them described problems with fire doors – the main theme being missing self-closing devices. 4 years later, this issue is still unresolved.

In a recent conversation that Pete Davies, Fireco’s Business Development Manager, had with a local authority in the South East, he found out that out of 6000 general-purpose flat entrance doors, 1700 had closers disengaged or removed. In a conversation with another housing association customer, they explained that 40% of closers were missing from their general needs accommodation.

Problem 2: Keeping track of all the compliance information for the whole property portfolio

Within housing associations there can be anything from 500 to 80,000 properties in one portfolio. Keeping track of all of these properties can take a lot of time and coordination, however, this still needs to be done. The Golden Thread requires accurate and up-to-date records of all a building’s data through every stage, starting with the architects and then right through the chain of manufacturers, contractors and risk assessors.

The solution: How to keep track of fire safety in social housing

Fire safety compliance cannot be achieved overnight. There will be regulation updates, maintenance schedules to organise and expensive projects to plan, whilst a change of tenants can also act as variants as to whether your building is compliant. However, we can offer a way for you to take a bit more control of your property portfolio and help you keep track of what’s going on with parts of your building with live information.

A laptop on a table being used by someone. Th screen shows Fireco's product, InSite, compliance monitoring software.

Our new InSite software allows you to remotely monitor the status of all Fireco Pro door furniture located in your buildings from one device. If you are using our free-swing closer, Freedor Pro , for residents with mobility issues, you will be able to see instantly whether it has been tampered with or removed. You will also have the serial number, installation date, battery life, signal strength and current status. You can assign each device with the corresponding flat number and whether the resident is part of a PEEP, as well as the date due for the next inspection.

All our Pro Range door products are Cat A compliant meaning they can be installed in high-risk areas in accordance with your FRA. The Pro System is radio-controlled via ProHub which is hard-wired into your communal alarm panel, automatic opening vent (AOV) or sprinkler system.

With Fireco’s Pro Range & InSite Software, you can rest assured that one major part of your building compliance has been made easy.

If you need help with fire safety compliance in your buildings, call us on 01273 320650.

Keep your employees safe with COVID-19 rapid-result test kits

Keep your employees safe with COVID-19 rapid-result test kits

Throughout the pandemic, we have been ensuring that our office and manufacturing space is COVID-secure, to prevent the spread of the virus and keep our workforce safe. As a manufacturer, we can’t afford to stop altogether and due to the virus spreading so easily, we have constantly reviewed and updated our prevention methods.

As expected, some of our employees have contracted the virus, most likely outside of the workplace. Our Chief Commercial Officer even wrote about the experience of him and his family contracting the virus from his children attending school.

We have been able to use and even manufacture our own products to help us tackle the spread of the virus, giving us more control over the safety of our workplace. We haven’t had to rely on delivery times, finding and buying products from different suppliers or hoping that what we’ve chosen will work.

However, one element that we felt was missing from our hygiene strategy was actually testing our employees. We have reduced touchpoints, improved ventilation, installed hand sanitisers, provided face masks and shields, have a temperature check by the door and one-way system. But, as said in James’ blog, when his family contracted COVID-19 their beginning symptom was a headache – not a temperature. 

Due to this, we decided to introduce rapid-results test kits to employees. We wanted to offer peace of mind to those who need to come into work, that all people on-site had tested negative. This peace of mind is priceless during such a challenging time and has made our employees feel safe when coming to work.

We have already helped many businesses with their hygiene control measures. However, we want other companies to experience the same peace of mind that we have, which is why we now sell rapid-result COVID-19 test kits through our online shop

COVID-19 rapid-result test kit

Our online shop provides a complete hygiene control solution:

Dorgard, Dorgard SmartSound & Freedor SmartSound – Hold your doors open safely and legally, to reduce touchpoints and improve ventilation.

Germgard – Reduce cross-contamination in your building by promoting or enforcing the use of hand sanitiser.

Face Shields – To be worn with face masks for added protection.

COVID-19 Test Kits – Ensure that the workforce in your premises has a negative test result and provide peace of mind to employees.

If you need help with your COVID-secure strategy or your return to work strategy, call us on 01273 320650, or visit our online shop.

Monitor your sites remotely with Fireco’s new software

Monitor your sites remotely with Fireco’s new software

Fireco is excited to be starting the year off by introducing a new innovation to its product range! This product has been developed throughout 2020 with the aim of being able to help customers operate more efficiently, reduce costs and meet compliance requirements.

Introducing InSite, Fireco’s open and unified monitoring software and the newest addition to the Pro Range.

The InSite software is cloud-based, offering remote monitoring of Fireco’s Pro Range door devices, providing real-time information about the status, battery life and signal strength through the ProHub system controller.

This software is an excellent way for Installers and Maintenance Managers to keep track of their different sites, enabling them to plan visits efficiently around the device reports.

InSite is also ideal for Building Managers, Facility Managers or even the Responsible Person for fire safety, who want to be able to ensure their building is compliant without physically having to check.

“I’ve worked with installers for 10 years and I know they will find this software invaluable for remote monitoring, system checks on-site and even pre-empting when a service is required. Ensuring critical areas of a building are compliant is of great importance and has been a hot topic in the industry this past year. InSite makes keeping buildings safe easier than ever.” Alex Stone, Commercial Services Manager.

We are planning to exhibit at FIREX in July and The Fire Safety Event in September, where we will be showcasing InSite, along with other Pro Range devices. However, we are also carrying out online product demonstrations, so no one misses out.

For more information about InSite or to sign up to a demo visit www.fireco.uk or call Fireco on 01273 320650.

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