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Are fire doors and access a contradiction?

Are fire doors and access a contradiction?

Make no mistake, fire doors save lives and property. Not just a regular door, fire doors are a building’s armour in a fire. They block fire and smoke from rapidly spreading so people can escape.

But what about when there is no fire? When you’re working in a busy building, closed fire doors can be in the way; they are heavy and a nuisance.

With this in mind, coupled with the fact that over a quarter of people do not know it is illegal to wedge or prop open a fire door, it’s not surprising that you can find this happening…

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This is a typical example of a fire door being propped open with a door wedge. If a fire breaks out, fire and smoke will spread quickly throughout the building.

Not just your standard wedge, fire doors can be propped open with anything.
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Don’t have anything else to hold that pesky door open?  I guess this will do…
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Life is easier if a fire door can be held open, to allow freedom of movement and circulation of air. However, for fire doors to work, they need to be closed.

But, because of the need for access, people will always look for ways to hold open a fire door. One of the most common solutions found is the door wedge, which also happens to be one of the greatest hazards in fire safety.

As well as threatening lives and property, wedging open a fire door can lead to consequences such as fines, closed businesses, damaged reputations and even prison.

If you’re unsure about what to do regarding fire safety regulations, don’t worry. We are here to help. We understand that convenience is important in a busy environment, which is why we provide simple and trusted solutions to the problem of wedged open fire doors.

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How to check your fire doors

How to check your fire doors

It’s important to address the use and maintenance of fire doors. Fire doors can become damaged with regular use. Our checklist tells you what to look out for to make sure your doors are safe and compliant.

Why do we need fire doors?

Why do we need fire doors?

Fire doors save lives. They’re designed to stop the spread of fire and smoke for a specified amount of time.

10 things estates & fire safety managers missed on Twitter

10 things estates & fire safety managers missed on Twitter

Twitter is a marvellous thing. It’s a constant feed of people’s innermost thoughts, as if everyone’s subconscious has suddenly been given a voice. I’m always intrigued by what people say in their tweets, especially students. For me, it’s an invaluable resource of comments and new ideas. It really allows me to understand some of the everyday problems that students face. If you work in estates management or fire safety at any of the UK’s 130-ish universities and you haven’t already, it’s worth getting yourself on Twitter. You would be surprised at what people are saying about your facilities!

Here are 10 things that university estates and fire safety teams are missing

1. Students are taking it upon themselves to ‘repair’ fire doors.

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2. Many students are forced to perform unexpected and dexterous trials.


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3. Fire doors are plain, old fashioned bullies.

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4. And they try to keep you from your friends.

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5. The transition from using fire doors to domestic doors can be painful.

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6. Students just don’t understand that they’re seven times more likely to have a fire
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7. Some methods of making them aware of this are better received than others.

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8. Fire doors are noisy neighbours.

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9. And they’re just too heavy.

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10. Rules about fairy lights seem to be controversial.

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Not that it’s stopped some people…

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And there you have it. Some informative (and some not so informative) messages from students. But what should we take away from this?

Well, overwhelmingly it’s clear that fire doors create some major problems, largely due to their weight and a lack of understanding about what fire doors are designed to do. There are some simple solutions to these problems which I can help you with.

This is just a glimpse at some of the countless tweets from students struggling with their fire doors. There were so many more that I wanted to include but there just isn’t enough time in the day. If you struggle to find these little gems in the Twittersphere you can follow me on Twitter, @That_Fireco_Guy, and I’ll do the hard work for you and keep you ‘down with the kids’ (that’s what the kids say now, right?).

 

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Why do we need fire doors?

Why do we need fire doors?

Fire doors save lives. They’re designed to stop the spread of fire and smoke for a specified amount of time.

The smarter way to hold fire doors open

The smarter way to hold fire doors open

Dorgard SmartSound™ is the latest addition to the Fireco product range. Keep your fire doors open legally, safe in the knowledge that Dorgard SmartSound will automatically enable them to close if a fire alarm sounds.

Fire doors — thugs of health and safety

Fire doors — thugs of health and safety

Maybe in prehistoric times cavemen used fire to protect themselves from dinosaurs but instead sustained more burns than protection. Perhaps in the Bronze Age more people were injured digging up flint than injured by the arrows they made from it. Possibly in medieval times more knights injured themselves replacing their swords in their sheaths than using them to injure an enemy. Who knows?

What we do know is that today, more people are injured by fire doors than are saved by them. The irony of this is extreme, but real.

Doors keep intruders out, they keep the warmth in and preserve our privacy. From them we get protection from fire and we get knock knock jokes, but the venerable fire door also happens to be one of the biggest causes of injury in the workplace.

One of the most effective precautions against fire is mother nature’s own material — wood. Living, breathing wooden doors are throwing themselves in the path of fire and smoke and buying us time to escape the heat’s clutches. The splinters are our saviour yet more often a thorn in our side. I bet you thought it wasn’t possible to wax lyrical about fire doors.

I have worked for Fireco for over 11 years and have learned quite a bit about fire doors. I have studied how they have been effective but I have also become acutely aware of the injuries they are responsible for. They trap, they crush and they kill. They make our workplaces into minefields, assault courses causing over 30,000 injuries to children each year.

There is a lot of hype surrounding safety. It’s big business and it pays for companies like Fireco to remind you of the life changing, business-destroying power of fire. Marketing people prey on your fascination for flames and place products in front of you that will “solve all of your problems”.

Perhaps I’m doing that too, but by way of a data matrix.  This is a method revered by fire engineers. “What is the likelihood versus the severity?” is the essential question.

One of my favourite books: “Freakoncomics” perfectly illustrates this point. In one chapter the authors give us the scenario of leaving your child with one of two households for the day. Household A has a swimming pool, a lovely way to cool off on a hot summer’s day and get fit. Household B’s father is a hunter and keeps a gun in the house. The image of Jim Bob playing with his friends, slurping ice cream round the pool seems much more preferable to little Jimmy rummaging into the cupboards and finding a fully loaded shotgun.

Of course it’s a trap. Swimming pools are deadly, we run round them, we dive-bomb, we drink booze in them and we drown in them. Guns kill, but they are nowhere near the merchants of death our backyard watery friends are.

We’ve got better at protecting ourselves from fire, the last statistics boast a significant drop in lost lives. It’s interesting that the majority of 22,500 non-dwelling fires occurred in fairly open plan workplaces, Bars, restaurants, factories and garden sheds. Places where fire doors are sparsely used.

Yes, fire doors are invaluable in the event of a fire but they more commonly are the violent criminals of health and safety — they pinch, cut, maim and regularly knock the infirm from their feet. They make our offices stuffy in the summer and they make us contort when we’re carrying things through them.

Fireco have been taming these wooden beasts since 1996. We are proud to have nearly a million of our products installed in the UK alone, allowing the fire door to do its job without being a thug.

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Why do we need fire doors?

Fire doors save lives. They’re designed to stop the spread of fire and smoke for a specified amount of time.

The smarter way to hold fire doors open

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Dorgard SmartSound™ is the latest addition to the Fireco product range. Keep your fire doors open legally, safe in the knowledge that Dorgard SmartSound will automatically enable them to close if a fire alarm sounds.

Fire safety fines for students

Fire safety fines for students

Students are a high-risk group. Did you know that 81% of students undertake activities that increase the risk of fire in their accommodation?

  • One in two regularly ‘drink and fry’ causing hundreds of fires each year
  • Deep fat fryers and chip pans are the cause of 9% of fires
  • 43% admit to drying clothes over a heater.

Fire doors are safety devices. When a fire breaks out, they act as a barrier by holding the fire back so people can escape. While they are supposed to be kept closed at all times, students often see fire doors as more of a hindrance than a safety device.

 

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With issues like these seen every day, it’s clear to see why fire doors get wedged open. Despite this, regulations state that fire doors must be kept closed.

 

Fire safety fines

Many universities are imposing fines on students in halls of residence to:

  • encourage quicker evacuation
  • reduce false alarms
  • prevent wedged open fire doors.

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It can be a daunting experience leaving home for the first time, and students will be faced with the challenge of keeping on top of budgeting. While this approach to fire safety is completely understandable to discourage behaviour that may compromise this, students in halls are still seven times more likely to have a fire.

For many, an open fire door makes life easier. It stops the obstruction from heavy fire doors, reduces injury, slamming doors and inconvenience.

For many students, an open door makes meeting people a lot easier. Leaving home for the first time, their first thoughts will be getting to know their new housemates without the struggle of a heavy fire door.

There are legal and safe ways to keep fire doors open, such as a hold-open device. They enable freedom to move, ensure compliance and keep students safe. So students can start their new chapter, without concerns that they may be doing this…

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Fire safety tips for schools

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The cost of a school fire can be huge. Lives are at risk. Fire damage is not only expensive to repair, it causes disruption and can even affect exam results, and staff and pupil morale.

Are universities deaf to students’ needs?

Are universities deaf to students’ needs?

In 2016, UCAS registered 507,108 university applicants. Statistically speaking, 1 in 6 of these applicants will have a hearing impairment. That’s a staggering 84,518 students.

Is your fire door safe or life threatening?

Is your fire door safe or life threatening?

It’s hot outside, there are a large number of people walking through the building and that fire door is heavy, difficult and just in the way. Sound familiar?

Fire doors are safety devices which are there to help protect lives. However, regulations state they are meant to be kept closed in case of a fire. Wedging open fire doors is a risk which can result in devastating consequences, here are some examples that make a fire door useless.

This is a classic example, a fire door being propped open with a door wedge. In the event of a fire, this will allow fire and smoke to spread quickly throughout the building. A huge risk.

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You won’t be able to eat your way out of this one quickly! Blocking fire doors, even if it is some tasty pepperoni pizza won’t help if there is a fire.

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Spot the fire door and win a prize!
Creative? Yes. An effective and quick means of escape route? Not really. Masking your escape routes can lengthen the time your occupants can leave the building in an emergency.

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This building took one step further, getting rid of their fire door completely! As you know, this is hugely dangerous if a fire occurs.

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I’ll let you make your mind up about this one!

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Sometimes it’s easy to forget how our everyday schedules can affect fire safety, but there are simple ways that fire doors can be kept open to enable greater access while still complying with fire regulations.

 

 

Images courtesy of Theodore Firedoor.
To see more, visit https://www.facebook.com/theodorefiredoor

Five fire safety fails

Five fire safety fails

Wedging open fire doors poses a huge risk in the event of a fire as it allows fire and smoke to spread rapidly throughout the building. To avoid a heavy fine or a fire at your residence, here are a few safety fails to which other premises have fallen victim!

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This picture highlights a common hazard frequently identified by fire inspectors, an extinguisher being used to hold open a door, also known as the “British standard wedge”

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Apart from needing a tidy up, obstructing fire exits can seriously hamper evacuation and endanger lives. This care home was fined £70,000 for breaching fire safety laws last year – the most serious of these being blocked fire escapes.

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It’s often desirable to have fire doors kept open, for example when the weather is warm but there are better and safer ways than this. As with doors that are wedged open, these fire doors will be unable to do their job if and when a fire does occur.

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Making escape routes clear can save precious time when evacuating a building. The confusion caused by signage like this can cause unnecessary panic and delays when residents are trying to escape the building.

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Blocking fire exits goes both ways, it is just as unsafe to block them from the outside as it is in. You don’t want to give occupants a nasty surprise in an evacuation.

These were some pretty extreme examples of common hazards but it’s easy to forget how our everyday routines and habits can affect fire safety. There are ways to keep compliant with regulations without changing your daily routines or causing yourself inconvenience.

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Why do we need fire doors?

Why do we need fire doors?

Fire doors save lives. They’re designed to stop the spread of fire and smoke for a specified amount of time.

The smarter way to hold fire doors open

The smarter way to hold fire doors open

Dorgard SmartSound™ is the latest addition to the Fireco product range. Keep your fire doors open legally, safe in the knowledge that Dorgard SmartSound will automatically enable them to close if a fire alarm sounds.

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