Legally, if you wedge open a fire door and it is judged that this puts someone’s life at risk, you could suffer penalties, including a fine or even a prison sentence.
Why are fire doors necessary?
Fire doors are a vital part of a building’s fire strategy, and can only do their job if they are closed. They are specially designed to prevent the spread of fire and smoke through a building so people can evacuate safely and the building is protected from damage.
A wedge prevents a door from closing, which means fire can spread, putting all occupants in danger. Fire doors are clearly marked with a sign stating ‘Fire door, keep shut’. If you see a fire door that is held open, whether that’s with a door wedge, fire extinguisher, chair, pot plant or anything else, you need to make sure the obstruction is removed so the door stays closed.
In the event of a fire, it is quite possible that an insurer would be unwilling to pay for damages when a door has been wedged or propped open. The majority of fire doors will hold a fire in a room for 30 minutes by which time the Fire & Rescue Service will be on site. Wedging open doors can, and has, caused a chimney effect, which causes fire to spread rapidly, destroying entire buildings.
Wedging or propping open a fire door can prove devastating as it allows fire to spread unchecked, putting lives and buildings at risk. Despite this, 64% of premises visited by the Fire Service have fire doors wedged open.
But it’s not as simple as saying don’t wedge that door. We want fire doors open, as they are a nuisance in everyday life. We know they can be heavy, cause obstruction and even injuries.
Why do people wedge open fire doors?
Despite the dangers and risk of legal penalties for wedging open fire doors, people still do it. Closed doors are a pain. They get in the way if you’re trying to carry a tray of drinks or your luggage. They hinder access if you’re using a wheelchair or walking stick or pushing a buggy. They can cause a room to be hot and stuffy by restricting the flow of air.
Fire doors are heavy and can be a struggle to get through. They can be difficult to open, particularly for frailer people, those with mobility issues, or young children at schools and nurseries.
However leaving fire doors wedged or propped open disregards the safety of others. It is also against the law. The only safe way for fire doors to be held open is with special devices that release them to close automatically when the fire alarm is activated.
When fire doors are wedged or propped open, businesses are at risk of fines, but more seriously, it puts people’s lives in danger. Don’t pay the price of the door wedge.
I have a fire door but on very hot days my room is so warm and stuffy I open windows to let air circulate. The manager has told me to keep it closed, should they be made to put air conditioners in rooms I am 70 and in this heat wave feel I will pass out. When alarm goes of I close my door
The property belongs to Anchor and Hanover.
Should read open windows and door
Iv just been told that I can’t remove the carbord door weges in a NHS building by my company, thay won’t email me about it only call me. I will still remove the wages every time I see tham on the fire doors.
Hi Susan. Closed fire doors in this heat can make for a very uncomfortable environment. While the manager is right that fire doors normally should remain closed, products such a Dorgard and Freedor can help you keep these doors open safely. If you’d like to call our team or email us your details, we can send you a brochure to show the manager.
Get another job! If you wanna moan about this and put lives at risk cause you are hot! How selfish can you be?
A takeaway below me keeps theirs wedged open. Who should I report them to? I have children asleep above them.
Hi Daniel. If you have any fire safety concerns about a business, the best thing to do is to call your local fire service so that they can arrange a fire inspection.
Now I just saw s clip.on tyne tees news today friday the 9/09/2020 .showed a taxi with a trainee lawyer in the taxi now she had no seat belt on for one. Then when she got out of taxi at place of work the fire door was propped open by a fire extinguisher it was on news at 6 45 pm time .now she is a.lawer made me.laugh what was she thinking no seat belt and walked past the propped fire door .a claim right there .
Hi there we are residents in council independent living flats
Since covid lockdown last year our lounge has been locked off.
This lounge has fire doors in there but as its locked we can’t use them in an emergency.
We do have other fire exits but we wondered if this door being locked off was a violation of the fire escape rules
There is no claim there? Only a claim if a fire door is propped open and they can prove that helped the fire spread! So shhh talking jibber jabber. Spreading your misinformation.
Live in a block with only 3 flats but the middle one keeps on leaving the fire/ security door open, she has had 4 letters from housing but keeps on leaving it open and Denise its her but the lady on the bottom is bed bound so she can’t walk only leaves her. My Housing Sovereign have said it’s not there problem and they can’t make her close the door it’s not in our contract what can I do as been attacked in the block as well as break ins
I live in down stairs flat and the neighbor next door keep propping a fire door open with a box who should i report them to if repoting them to the council hasent worked
Can you wedge open a classroom fire door
If the area is attended you can prop it open or get a magnetic release that’s connected to the alarm
At my place of work the main office has 4 connecting doors, 2 lead to the exits and 2 lead to other offices.
All 4 doors are self closing fire doors. Only 1 of the 4 is the designated fire escape. Is the designated fire escape door the only one which must be left closed. Or must all fire doors remain closed (not wedged open). The office is reasonably small (8m X 5m) and has 8 people working in it.
In the building where I live my neighbour leave the fire door open, and wedged with the fire extinguisher.
Every time I close it when I hear or see and briefly I left a note on the door. I tired to speak with her but she didn’t open the door to me. Almost every 2nd month we have fire alarm and I don’t feel safe.
The building owner doesn’t care.
What shall I do? Shall I contact someone as anonymous?
Hi Dora. In this circumstance, we would recommend speaking to your local fire service. They may be able to arrange a visit or can offer advice on what actions you can take.
Hi I’m the manager at a coffee shop, am I allowed to wedge open the kitchen door as I feel uncomfortable when it’s just me and another person
I live in a 10 storey council block of flats in Bristol for over 50s.
We’ve got an awful contractor employed by the council doing repainting.
They’ve been waiting until afternoon to paint fire doors with varnish,
which takes about 10 hours to dry.
They’ve been habitually wedging fire doors open for not just overnight,
but literally from 14.30 on Friday, until 9.00 the following Monday.
I’m terrified there may be a fire here because I’ve lived through an incident
where I had half an ear burned off and my lungs filled with soot.
It’s been reported to both Bristol City Council and the local fire safety office.
No one seems to think it’s a problem.
Is there any authority I can turn to for help please?
Hi Ve. Sorry to hear about the problems you are having. It sounds like you’ve taken the right steps so far. Have a look at this advice from the government for further actions you can take https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/fire-safety-of-your-building-advice-for-tenants-and-residents
Hi, I found you on hilton birchstreet and im looking for 24v door retainers (floor mounted)
Do you have them? can you quote?
Hi Leo. Thank you for your enquiry. The best thing to do is to call our sales team on 01273 320650 to discuss your requirements.
Hi. Can I use door retainer on fire compartment fire doors? Many thanks.