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How to Ensure Access with Safe Fire Door Opening

Fire doors play an integral role in the fire safety of many buildings. They are a legal requirement in certain types of buildings, and you’ll see fire doors in hospitals, schools, houses of multiple occupancy, and many different types of commercial buildings. As the person responsible for fire safety management within a building, you’ll understand there are many different things that you need to manage effectively to keep people safe, and the maintenance of fire doors is certainly one of the most important things on that list.

What does a fire door do?

A fire door is designed to provide a period of time where a certain part of a building can be blocked off from fire and smoke in the event of a fire. The best fire doors provide at least 30 minutes where a fire can be prevented from spreading fast. Without a fire door you would quickly see the destruction of a building, as well as loss of life. This valuable time can be used to provide a safe escape route for those trapped inside a building, or enough time for the fire brigade to enter the building and tackle the blaze.

What about opening fire doors in a busy building?

This is a good question. In a busy building, where there is a high level of footfall, it is essential that fire doors can be held open at certain times of the day in order to ensure that there is a sufficient level of accessibility. The problem is, if the fire door is held open in an incorrect manner it can have severe consequences in terms of the fire safety of the building.

A fire door must only be held open using an approved fire door retainer, which is compliant with the standard fire regulations for a fire door. You should never just wedge a fire door open with a block of wood, as you would with a normal door at home, or lean something heavy against a fire door to keep it propped open.

To do either of those things is negligent in the extreme, and when a fire does break out, in the mayhem and confusion you’ll find that the fire door that is wedged open will be left that way, unable to perform its basic function, placing lives at risk as a direct result.

If you are the person responsible for the installation and management of fire doors and fire safety at a building you own, manage, or work in, it is important that you fully understand the implications of safe and proper fire door management. Fire doors provide a high level of safety to those in danger of fire and smoke in the worst-case scenarios. However, you’ll also appreciate that in busy buildings there is a necessity for fire door to be held open for the purposes of accessibility, especially where there is heavy footfall. Managing fire doors, inspecting and maintaining them regularly ensures that the closing and opening mechanisms work well, and that you are never caught short in an emergency, causing potential injury or loss of life.

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