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”
Friday the 4th September marked the one millionth Dorgard sale!
Fireco was founded in 1995 by inventor and designer, Neil Purssey. The company was originally called Dorgard Ltd, named after the first product Neil brought to market.
Dorgard is a door retainer that holds doors open and when the fire alarm sounds, will release and close the door, preventing the spread of fire.
Neil originally had the idea of Dorgard when watching a ‘Dancing Daisy’, which would only dance when there was a sound near it. This got Neil thinking – what other items would be useful if they were sound activated?
Dorgard was then designed to replace dangerous door wedges, by allowing people to hold their doors open, with the peace of mind that when the fire alarm sounded, the Dorgards would ‘hear’ it and close the door.
Over the past 25 years, new products have been designed and manufactured to meet the needs of the market, leading to the company name being changed to Fireco in 2001. Now with 8 products in the range and more to come, Fireco is considered one of the leading brands for fire door retaining devices. What was once a small business originating in Brighton, has expanded to selling its products worldwide.
Until recently, Fireco was focussed on fire safety, specifically fire door related products. With the Coronavirus pandemic taking over and changing our everyday lives, fire safety was no longer Fireco’s main concern. They knew they had to act in order to support businesses to keep their environments safe.
Dorgard has since been used as a device to hold doors open safely, whilst also reducing the need to touch door handles and therefore limiting cross-contamination. Many different industries, from the NHS to schools and offices have reached out to inquire about how Dorgard can help. It was through this shift, that Dorgard made it to one million sales.
From left to right, Alex Babbage, James Wheeler, Helen Elligate, Wayne Ellett, Michelle Bussey.
“The last 6 months have been challenging for businesses across the country, so we feel extremely grateful that we have something so positive to celebrate. We are proud to say we have supplied our Millionth Dorgard unit.
Over the last 25 years, Fireco has worked tirelessly on the development and manufacture of innovative products that help keep premises fire safe and help save lives. When COVID-19 hit our business we reacted quickly and recognized the huge importance of Dorgard not only as a fire safety product but as a product that can assist with a premises germ control strategy.
Since then we have shifted our focus on how we can help and have been pleased to have donated products and services to those in most need. Our team has relished the challenge and we have been privileged in supporting the NHS and other organizations in their fight against COVID-19.
Manufacturing in our new premises in Sussex, we are proud to continue investing in Engineering and Manufacturing in the UK and the local area, together with being an active exporter into Europe and the rest of the world.” – Michelle Bussey, Chief Executive Officer at Fireco.
Although unexpected, all the employees at Fireco are glad they could help their customers with germ control as well as fire safety. However, they wanted to go one step further, so with a turn around of 3 months, they designed and launched Germgard, the Smart Sanitising System.
Germgard uses digital signage to alert users to sanitise their hands before gaining entry. This system can be used stand-alone or can be integrated with access control, automatic doors and electronic door locks, making the use of hand sanitiser a requirement before access is allowed.
Even through these uncertain and unsettling times, Fireco has pulled through and not only survived but thrived. This wouldn’t have been possible without all of their employees, installers, resellers, suppliers and customers. So for that, everyone from Fireco would like to say a massive thank you.
Join us in supporting Fire Door Safety Week 2020!
Founded in 2013 by the British Woodworking Federation (BWF), FDSW is a week-long social campaign run on Twitter, this year running from 21st to 27th of September.
FDSW is aimed at everyone, from the people who make the doors to the people who use them. Pretty much everyone in the UK will use a fire door at some point during their day, whether it’s at work, school or where they live. However, most people don’t realise the critical role a fire door plays when a fire breaks out.
The campaign emphasises the importance of fire doors and encourages people to stop wedging, carry out regular checks and report any faults. If everyone did this, lives, property and business could be saved.
Last year we did a Twitter Takeover, with all social posts being related to fire door safety. Join us again this year where we will be sharing resources, videos, eBooks, blogs and webinars, all to help towards raising awareness.
Follow us on Twitter @Fireco to keep up-to-date with FDSW 2020.
To pledge your support for Fire Door Safety Week or for more information about the cause, visit www.firedoorsafetyweek.co.uk
At the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic, hospitals were prepared for maximum capacity and steps were taken to ensure infection control. Alongside this, new hospitals were built in 10 days for the specific treatment of those who had caught the virus and the country was put into lockdown.
Whilst we usually focus on how our products will help with fire safety compliance, we knew that our products could contribute towards helping NHS sites with their infection control efforts.
Here’s how we’ve helped the NHS remain COVID-secure:
- Dorgard SmartSounds were installed in 3 of the temporary Nightingale Hospitals in order to reduce touchpoints. Dorgard SmartSound holds the fire doors open safely meaning that door handles don’t need to be touched in order to gain access.
- Freedor SmartSounds have been installed in NHS general hospitals in order to reduce touchpoints and improve access by reducing the need to touch door handles.
- Freedor SmartSound was installed in a COVID-19 test lab. The staff were struggling with the doors and found that they were less efficient, as every time they entered or exited they needed to replace the gloves they were wearing and wash their hands. Since having Freedor SmartSound, they have been able to move freely.
- Over 200 Dorgards were installed at an NHS warehouse. They hold the doors open meaning that employees don’t need to touch the door handles, reducing cross-contamination.
- Germgard is being installed in an NHS office base to ensure the use of hand sanitiser by all staff before entering the workplace. This is being installed to align with their Coronavirus Risk Assessment in relation to germ control.
From the start of the pandemic, our products have helped many different establishments with their germ control efforts, including the NHS, schools, offices and more.
If you’d like to know how Fireco can assist with germ control in your building. Contact us today, on 01273 320650.
How can Fireco help the NHS?
The Government has made the decision that all schools will be reopening for the new term in September. Preparations and precautions will have already been put in place when the children of key workers were still attending school. However, with all students, staff and visitors returning in September a new risk assessment will need to be carried out to ensure everyone is in a safe environment
Places of education have a duty of care to students and will already use the Governments advice on Health and Safety. However, it is important that a specific Coronavirus Risk Assessment is completed. By doing this, Coronavirus hazards can be identified, measured and controlled.
There are different resources available for Coronavirus Risk Assessments, however, The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has created this template which can be used by all industries.
Fireco’s products have already been helping many businesses, hospitals and schools with their germ-control. Here are some of the hazards identified by HSE that Fireco can help with.
Buildings should have good ventilation and fresh air circulating throughout. Our hold-open devices allow you to legally and safely hold your doors open which will improve airflow. When the fire alarm is activated, the doors will automatically close. With colder weather approaching, it’s important to have other methods in place to ensure good ventilation throughout your school, as keeping the windows open won’t always be a suitable option.
High traffic areas in the school such as Reception, hallways, doorways, toilets, lifts, changing rooms, canteens, break rooms etc are going to need to be monitored. Our hold-open devices will allow you to keep your doors open, reducing the need to touch door handles, limiting the risk of cross-contamination. Our Smart Sanitising System, Germgard, can be installed by entry and exit points, which will promote the use of hand sanitiser before passing through.
Anxiety around Coronavirus
Being isolated from lockdown and social distancing can heighten feelings of anxiety about returning to normal activities such as attending school. Many students and staff members will need assurances and physical evidence that there are practices in place to maintain hygiene. Germgard is a clear and visual way to encourage good hygiene. A sensor will detect someone approaching and a screen with digital signage will prompt them to use hand sanitiser before entering. This system could be ideal for a reception area, break room, or delivery bay as staff and visitors passing through will use hand sanitiser before being allowed entry. Our hold-open devices can create a more open atmosphere and reduce the need to touch door handles, this could also be encouraging for people who are concerned about contaminated surfaces.
If people on the school premises are not keeping up good personal hygiene, they could easily cross-contaminate items they touch. Germgard is designed to promote good hygiene practices to building users through the use of hand sanitiser. It can also be integrated with access control and other systems to further reinforce sanitisation by only allowing entry once the sanitiser has been used.
Fireco can help keep schools fire-safe and COVID-secure. If you would like to know how we can help your school, contact us today on 01273 320650.
Coronavirus lockdown restrictions are gradually lifting and a phased plan is in place to reopen businesses. This means that all businesses must prepare return strategies in order to make their building safe for staff, customers and visitors.
The Government’s Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has devised a COVID-19 Risk Assessment designed for employers to use in order to ensure their workplace COVID-19 secure. The guidance aims to help businesses identify and manage the risks associated with reopening during the pandemic.
Employers should already have a standard Risk Assessment in place in order to keep their employees and others safe, as this is part of the Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. This existing Risk Assessment can be adapted in order to suit the current risks associated with Coronavirus. The basic steps to creating a Risk Assessment include:
- Identify hazards: What could cause injury or illness?
- Measuring the level of risk: How likely is it that the risk will lead to injury or illness?
- Take action: Reduce risks or, if possible, eliminate them.
If you need help to identify potential areas of risk in your business, HSE has put together a COVID-19 Risk Assessment template which can be printed and filled out.
Fireco products can help you reduce the risks and contribute towards keeping your building germ free.
Here are some of the hazards that the HSE include in their assessment that Fireco can help with.
“Poor workplace ventilation leading to risks of coronavirus spreading”
Our hold-open devices will allow you to legally and safely hold your doors open throughout the building, improving airflow
“Getting or spreading coronavirus in common use high traffic areas such as canteens, corridors, restrooms, toilet facilities, entry/exit points to facilities, lifts, changing rooms and other communal areas.”
We have a range of products which can help with germ control for pinch points and shared surfaces. Our hold-open devices will allow you to keep your doors open, reducing the need to touch door handles, limiting the risk of cross-contamination. Our Smart Sanitising System, Germgard, can be installed by entry and exit points, which will promote the use of hand sanitiser before passing through.
“Mental health and wellbeing affected through isolation or anxiety about coronavirus”
Being isolated from lockdown and social distancing can heighten feelings of anxiety about going back to ‘normal’. Walking into a building after a few weeks or months and seeing nothing has changed will be very daunting for employees. Our hold-open devices can create a more open atmosphere and allow people to pass through without having to touch door handles. Germgard is a clear and visual way to show people that you have safety measures in place.
“Getting or spreading coronavirus by not washing hands or not washing them adequately”
Germgard is designed to promote good hygiene practices to building users through the use of hand sanitiser. It can also be integrated with access control and other systems to further reinforce sanitisation by only allowing entry once the sanitiser has been used.
Fireco’s product range can help unite both your COVID-19 and Fire Risk Assessments. If you would like to know how we can help your business with germ control and fire safety, contact us today on 01273 320650.