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25 years of fire safety compliance

25 years of fire safety compliance

In September 2020 we achieved our one-millionth Dorgard sale!

Over the past 25 years, Dorgard has been keeping buildings, businesses and people safe from the dangerous consequences of door wedging. Dorgard is an acoustically-activated door retainer that holds doors open and when the fire alarm sounds, will release and allow the door to close, preventing the spread of fire. Since its launch, two more versions have been introduced to the Fireco range, to help customers even further with their fire safety compliance.

Fireco started as a small business founded in Brighton and is now selling products worldwide. But, how did we come this far?

Focus on compliance

Dorgard was originally created with compliance and fire safety in mind and this has laid the foundations for everything else we have done since – even our motto becoming “compliance made easy”.

Over the years, we have worked with countless installers, fire safety consultants and associations, in order to ensure our products are suitable for all types of building scenarios. This led to the development of Dorgard SmartSound and Dorgard Pro. There are three different versions of Dorgard to meet different compliance requirements, Dorgard Pro being suitable for Cat A.

In more recent years, we have partnered with door manufacturers to carry out burns testing so that we can reassure customers, especially councils and housing associations, that Dorgard is safe to use and will not affect the fire rating of a fire door.

Meeting the needs of customers

Making fire safety easy is another big factor for us. Dorgard can be installed by almost anyone in under 5 minutes and its supporting documents are easy to understand. However, if preferred we do offer an installer service.

Fire safety is at the forefront of all product benefits, but this is not the only problem that we can help customers with. By installing a Dorgard, you can also improve ventilation and access throughout a building, both of which can be invaluable for the user.

Manufacturing a high-quality product that meets standards

When Dorgard was first introduced to the market, there was no guidance available for how and where acoustically actuated devices should be used. As is often the case, it took some time before relevant standards were updated. BS7273-4 now offers clear guidance which allows Dorgard and Dorgard SmartSound to be used as part of a Standard or Indirect installation.

One of the main reasons acoustic devices aren’t considered suitable for Critical Installations (i.e on fire doors on an emergency escape route) is because there is no direct connection between the device and the fire alarm panel, so if the alarm went into a ‘fault’ state, the retainers wouldn’t release to close the door.

This level of Critical compliance can now be achieved wirelessly, by using Dorgard Pro, utilising a hardwired radio transmitter which allows doors to close on either a ‘fire’ or ‘fault’ signal. This means that we can now offer a version of Dorgard based on the level of compliance needed for each door.

British Standards only give guidance on where a product can be used and how it should be actuated. For performance, we need to look at different guidance. All versions of Dorgard are tested to EN1155 which is the harmonized European Standard that gives the product it’s CE mark and classifies door closers using a 6 digit coding system, with each digit referring to a particular feature of the product measured against the standard’s performance requirements. This testing really looks at mechanical reliability, it looks at how many cycles the device can operate on before it starts having problems. 50,000 cycles are the open set close requirement – At Fireco, we actually put our products through 20% more testing than we’re required to.

As previously mentioned, we have completed EN1634-1 testing as part of a complete Doorset with several fire door manufacturers. This means that customers have the option of having a complete doorset fitted with a Dorgard already installed. This testing is vital in giving building managers the evidence they need to show that having our products installed to the door does not damage its integrity.

Ensuring that our products are compliant and meet the needs of our customers, we continually work on our manufacturing operations and product testing. If you have any questions about whether our products are suitable for your building, call us on 01273 320650.

Co-written by Sasha Brigden and Pete Davies.

Keep your care home safe with the Infection Control Fund

Keep your care home safe with the Infection Control Fund

What is the Adult Social Care Infection Control Fund?

Introduced in May 2020, initially worth £600 million, the fund was bought into action to help tackle the spread of the Coronavirus in care homes.

Now, due to its success, it has been extended to March 2021 with an additional £546 million, giving care providers further funding to help control the spread of the virus.

This funding is “specifically for supporting providers with the additional costs they will face in complying with the government guidance on infection prevention” and in particular for measures that restrict staff movement. The funding can also be used to buy necessary equipment which supports infection control measures and for ‘capital based alterations’ to allow safe visiting.

How do you receive funding?

This kind of funding you don’t need to apply for. Local authorities are given the money to automatically distribute to care providers based on the number of beds they have.

What about PPE?

This funding was not put in place to cover the costs of PPE. The Government has set up a PPE portal where a range of health and care providers can request free PPE to help meet extra demands due to the pandemic. 

How can Fireco help care homes with germ control?

A recent study carried out in Australia found that the virus that causes COVID-19 can last on some surfaces for up to 28 days, making a clean and hygienic environment key to controlling the spread. 

In order to improve germ control, the government has highlighted the importance of:

  • Improving ventilation
  • Keeping pinch points, such as doorways and corridors clear
  • Social distancing
  • Limiting touchpoints and sanitising them frequently

Fireco manufactures a range of products that can help with germ control throughout care homes whilst also keeping you compliant in other areas, such as fire safety. We have different versions of each product, offering different levels of compliance.

Dorgard, Dorgard SmartSound & Dorgard Pro

Dorgard is a fire door retainer. It allows you to hold doors open, closing them upon the sound of the alarm.

Freedor SmartSound & Freedor Pro

Freedor is a free-swing door closer which takes the weight out of heavy fire doors and allows you to place them open at any angle, closing upon activation of the fire alarm.

Holding fire doors open can help with ventilation, reduce the need to touch door handles and aid in social distancing by keeping pathways clear.

Germgard

Germgard is a smart sanitiser that uses digital signage to promote the use of hand sanitiser. It is available as a portable station or a system that can be installed on the wall and integrated with other systems like access control. Integrating Germgard can allow you to make the use of hand sanitiser a requirement to gain entry, limiting the chances of cross-contamination.

For more information about the Adult Social Care Infection Control Fund, click here.

To find out how Fireco’s products can help your care home with germ control, call us on 01273 320650.

Smart sanitisers, webinars and touchless entry points: Fireco’s pandemic response

Smart sanitisers, webinars and touchless entry points: Fireco’s pandemic response

Fireco’s James Wheeler chats with James Moore, Editor at IFSEC Global, about what we’ve been up to this year – read the full interview below. 

Best known for its Dorgard solution, Fireco has been working hard in 2020 to keep building occupants safe from fire and assist in germ control. IFSEC Global sat down with James Wheeler, Chief Commercial Officer at Fireco to find out more about how its products and webinars have provided the ideal solution for its customers.

IFSEC Global (IG): We hear you’re showing off your latest product, Germgard, at tomorrow’s IFSEC Tech Talks? Can you give us a little preview of how the solution works and why you launched it?

James: Germgard was created because we wanted to further assist our customers with germ control. Germgard is a smart sanitiser combined with digital signage, designed to promote awareness of the importance of hand sanitisation to all building users. It can also be tailored to suit individual business needs, helping as a building management tool. Some examples of potential messaging includes instructing users to follow your one-way system or putting on a mask before entering.

Our customers require visual, physical products as evidence in promoting their return to work strategy in their workforce. Germgard meets those requirements, ensuring best practice, encouraging occupants to self-police when moving around the building.

IG: And how else has Fireco responded to the COVID-19 pandemic? Have you been running any new initiatives to support the industry?

Since the beginning of the pandemic many people have been working from home so we decided to host webinars offering free education on fire safety, door compliance, evacuation strategies and legislation. We have had over 2000 sign ups and 16 guest speakers from the fire safety industry take part. We’re really pleased to have been able to keep all of our customers and suppliers up-to-date with the latest news from Fireco and from the industry in general.

We want to thank our amazing guest speakers for uniting our industry during lockdown, and keeping us all educated and focused – watch this space as we have more to come!

IG: Have you witnessed new benefits to your Dorgard solution with the onset of contactless solutions?

When COVID-19 hit our business we reacted quickly and recognised the huge importance of Dorgard, not only as a fire safety product but as a product that can assist with a premises germ control. And, due to our quick reaction to the needs of the market, we recently celebrated selling one million Dorgards!

Dorgard holds fire doors open safely and legally and closes when the fire alarm sounds. By allowing our customers to hold their doors open, they are limiting the need to touch door handles and reducing the risk of cross-contamination. Dorgard can also aid with reducing pinch-points in corridors and doorways and increase ventilation throughout a building.

IG: After the recent Fire Door Safety Week highlighted the importance of fire doors, what would be your advice to those specifying fire doors to ensure they remain compliant and protect the lives of building occupants?

Firstly, it’s worth noting the ever-increasing requirements for better and more comprehensive testing for doors and hardware. It’s important to use a reputable company that has tested the doors against an agreed British standard. A number of door manufacturers now have excellent methods of quality control and traceability using new methods.

Some advice that we’ve picked up through working with customers and suppliers are:

  • Identify the correct door hardware at the specification stage
  • Choose door closers suitable for the users of the door
  • Correct fitting of all parts of the door and the hardware
  • Keep fire doors maintained by getting them checked regularly by a trained professional

Quality installation of the doors is as key to resident safety, perhaps, as much as the doors themselves. Use accredited fire door installers that will fit the doors to a high standard.

I would also like to add, on the Fireco website we have a fire doorset configurator which allows you to select your door and all the hardware in one place, making it really straightforward for the user.

IG: Can you explain to us a little bit more about your role in FIMA, and how the organisation is looking to support the industry?

Fireco created FIMA and works closely with all its members. At Fireco, we work extremely hard to meet all legislative requirements for the safety of our products and have even gone as far as testing our products with other brands to help customers when making buying decisions. We wanted to create an alliance for manufacturers who want to unite and work together in achieving certification. We also thought it would provide a great opportunity for companies who wanted to integrate their products, whether that’s through hardware or software.

More often than not, installers and customers will need a variety of solutions for the fire safety and security in their building, which means it’s important for different products to work in unison. It makes it much easier for the end user when making decisions if they can see that products from different companies can work together, meet regulations and hold certifications. We wanted FIMA to provide customers with a selection of trusted companies all in one place.

We’d like to thank IFSEC for the Q&A and for allowing us to feature it on our website, as well as their own.

Don’t miss out on Fireco’s Tech Talks with IFSEC and FIREX

Don’t miss out on Fireco’s Tech Talks with IFSEC and FIREX

Over the coming weeks, Fireco will be taking part in the IFSEC & FIREX Tech Talks. 

The Tech Talks are “a new digital initiative designed for security and fire safety professionals to discover new products and services and connect with potential suppliers.”

They are presented as live or pre-recorded sessions that you can watch from the safety and comfort of your own space. By taking part, you have the opportunity to hear from leaders in the industry, providing inspiration for new technologies and solutions to help with your fire safety and security needs.

We will be showcasing some of the products that we think will help benefit your business, improve environments and contribute to germ control. 

Tuesday 6th October at 3.30pm – Germgard will be presented by Zac Sang

Tuesday 17th November at 11.30am – Digital Messaging Service will be presented by Pete Davies

After our product presentations, we will be hosting a live Q&A to answer any queries you may have surrounding how our products work or how they can specifically help you.

To hear more about the latest innovations from Fireco, click the link to sign up to these free events http://ifsec.co.uk/ifsectechtalkspartners 

“Protect your business by being proactive” – Q&A with Darren Young

“Protect your business by being proactive” – Q&A with Darren Young

For Fire Door Safety Week 2020, we contacted Darren Young Managing Director at 1st Aid Fire to discuss all things fire doors!

Darren has worked in the fire industry for over 30 years. He followed in the footsteps of his father, brothers and cousins which led him to begin his career in the Royal Air Force Fire Service at 20 years of age. He is now Managing Director for 1st Aid Fire who specialise in first aid training, fire training and fire risk assessments.

From the opinion of someone who works in fire safety, why are fire doors so important?

Fire doors complete compartmentation and when fitted and maintained correctly they will help save lives and property. Too many people see fire doors as being normal doors which leads to them thinking it’s ok to wedge/prop them open. A fire door is only a fire door if it is shut. If a fire door is wedged open, it is just a hole in the wall allowing a fire to spread. Fire doors save lives – FACT!

What importance do you think Fire Door Safety Week has for not only the fire industry but also the users of fire doors?

We all know that fire safety can be a complex subject and Fire Door Safety Week gives people the chance to access information they may not have necessarily considered before. People can take part in events, some of which are CPD, and then they can apply the information they’ve gained to carry out checks with the correct knowledge. The fire industry is a fast-paced industry with new products coming out all the time. FDSW gives service providers the opportunity to showcase new products for all users to see so they can decide which option is best for them.

What are the most common fire door compliance issues you come across on the job?

Once a door is fitted correctly, general maintenance should keep a fire door compliant for quite some time. The common compliance issues I come across are mostly due to fire doors not being maintained. The main things to check for is:

  • The self-closing device closes the door fully and by itself.
  • The seal is in place and is not damaged in any way.
  • The recommended gap between the fire door and the frame does not exceed the current standards (Side and top of a fire door 3mm recommended; max 4mm. The bottom of a fire door 10mm gap to allow for undulating floors, devices can be bought to keep this gap down too)

Do you feel that people face any barriers when it comes to maintaining fire door compliance?

The main barrier that people see is the cost! People don’t want to get a fire door survey done as they believe it will cost thousands to put things right. However, maintaining a fire door or even replacing a fire door is a great deal cheaper than they think. Another thing to note is with fire safety, it’s better safe than sorry.

What do you think would help people to overcome these barriers?

I would always recommend getting a survey and then get a quote for what needs to be actioned. There are lots of options out there and the surveyor will be able to help you achieve compliance within your budget. Alternatively, you can pay for a member of staff in your company to be trained in fire door inspections. Once complete they will be able to survey and maintain fire doors regularly, which in the long run can reduce costs.

Do you have any advice for the readers of this blog on how they can increase the lifespan of their fire doors or keep them compliant for longer?

  • Check fire doors regularly and fix things as soon as you see them. It’s best to be proactive and stop problems from getting worse.
  • Fit the best products you can for your budget range. However, sometimes it’s better to invest in something that is of higher spec, it can avoid replacements and engineer call-outs.
  • Never be afraid to ask companies for advice. It’s what companies like us are here for! We, at 1st Aid Fire, will always welcome questions and try to help in any way we can. By having conversations with us, solutions can be tailored to meet your specific needs.

Having the right testing and certification for each door set component is important for your fire door to be compliant. What is your opinion on global assessment vs primary test evidence – is it practical to test every door with every combination of ironmongery?

There are many companies out there that will say that their products are the best. If fire doorsets are manufactured well and to a specific standard, then it still must be installed correctly. Only use a company which is third-party accredited, this will give you peace of mind that not only the fire door is compliant but the workmanship can be checked at any time. If the standard is not right, the company can be struck-off the accredited recommendation books. We use Loss Prevention Certification Board (LPCB) accredited carpenters and we have never been let down in the past. There are many accredited companies out there, so you can choose the one that suits you and gives you the reassurance you need to feel safe.

How can a business like 1st Aid Fire help people stay safe and compliant?

We offer several different courses from Fire Awareness to Fire Warden training. We want to work with clients so they can ensure their staff are not only trained to deal with fire but also how to be proactive within the workplace. We also work closely with other companies in the industry that offer training in fire door inspection courses or that manufacture the best equipment on the market. 1st Aid Fire can do the hard work for you and ensure that your workplace is safe and compliant.

If you have any more questions about fire doors or you’d like to discuss further how 1st Aid Fire can help your business, check out their website www.1staidfire.com or give them a call on 0808 123 2401

“Protect your business by being proactive”

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