Pembrokeshire Housing fits Aico Co Alarms with new Audiolink Data Retrieval Technology

Pembrokeshire Housing Association recently initiated a move to fit Aico AudioLINK™ Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarms in to all of its properties in West Wales.

Pembrokeshire Housing is an independent, not for profit Industrial & Provident Society and is Pembrokeshire’s local housing association. Since
it was established in 1981 it has achieved consistent growth and now provides over 2,300 homes.

The decision to fit CO alarms into its properties was based on the desire to provide the very best safety measures for all residents, as Antony James, Maintenance Manager for Pembrokeshire Housing, states: “we place the safety of our customers above and beyond the statutory landlords’ responsibilities under the gas safety regulations and see the use of CO alarms as a positive move in general regarding gas safety management”.

The alarm selection process was conducted by Antony with colleagues from property services and procurement.  The decision to go with Aico i208 CO alarms was based on the positive experience they have had using Aico’s smoke alarms within the same properties.

Aico’s Ei208 CO alarm is a quality, cost-effective unit designed with a sealed in Lithium battery, which overcomes the potential problem of battery removal by the resident.  It has recently been upgraded to a 10 year life and to incorporate Aico’s revolutionary new AudioLINK data extraction technology.  AudioLINK allows for invaluable real time data to be extracted via the alarm’s sounder – all you need is an AudioLINK enabled CO alarm, a tablet or smartphone and the free AudioLINK App. This data is converted into an Alarm Status report, which is simple to review and store. The Report displays useful information about the alarm and detection levels of CO, and can be emailed or stored in a key location for future reference.

For Pembrokeshire Housing Association, AudioLINK was a key attraction as Maintenance Manager Antony James explains: “it has the potential to save time and resources as it can rule out false alarms, other alarms sounding, battery depletion, unit faults etc. from being CO incidents. The process for measuring and investigating ambient CO in domestic properties can be very time consuming.”

Antony finds the reports generated by AudioLINK particularly useful: “The background CO report is great for identifying a defective cooker grill fret that is slowly getting worse, whilst the alarm removed report is useful in assessing if you have the full picture of CO incidents. Multiple removals would prompt a full safety check.”

The work of installing the CO alarms will be carried out by Pembrokeshire Housing’s direct labour services team which consists of maintenance workers, electricians, kitchen fitters and Gas Safe / OFTEC registered heating engineers. The majority of the CO alarms will be fitted at the same time as the annual landlord’s gas safety check and during the planned replacement of boilers.

The number of CO alarms per property and their location will be based on the appliances within each property. “For example, if we have a boiler in a kitchen and a fire in a lounge then we would fit two; one in the lounge and one in the kitchen” explains Antony.  “We had looked at fitting the alarms on a risk basis but decided that could be complicated and wanted to provide some protection regarding tenant owned appliances that fall outside the landlord’s responsibilities”.

Elin Brock, Pembrokeshire Housing’s director of housing, oversees the gas safety programme and welcomes the news of the CO alarms being itted.  She is keen to stress that fitting CO alarms will supplement but never replace the excellent servicing and maintenance programmes for fuel burning appliances at Pembrokeshire Housing. Pembrokeshire Housing has been able to report 100% gas compliance every quarter for the last five years. Fitting CO alarms is now just another gas safety measure for Pembrokeshire Housing who are used to putting their efforts and resources into gas safety and the safety of their customers.

A wholly owned subsidiary of Ei Electronics, Aico is a market leader in residential fire and CO protection in the UK. All alarms are designed and built in Ireland specifically to meet the UK standards and regulations. 2015 sees Aico’s 25th anniversary. With more mains powered domestic smoke alarms installed in the UK’s social housing than any other manufacturer, Aico is tried, tested and trusted. Aico has a dedicated team of regional Managers to support specifications and supply of products. Aico also offers technical support over the phone and an internal sales team to help with any enquiries.

For more information please visit www.aico.co.uk.

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Social housing must ‘put out’ fire risk

Social housing executives are always conscious of safety, and when it comes to fire they agree there is no room for complacency writes Richard Wood, Head of Housing at Zurich Municipal.

Zurich Municipal’s latest Social Housing Risk Ranking, which surveyed 79 board level chief executives and directors from the sector, sought to establish the risk priorities for social housing. The data found that Registered Providers (RPs) have a number of concerns, but one of their key priorities is the significant threat that fires and arson pose to life and property.

The risk of fire is well recognised across the industry and housing providers, owners, landlords and agents are already legally required by The Housing Act to maintain appropriate levels of fire safety and to carry out fire risk assessments on their properties. Importantly, this legislation places responsibility for fire safety on a ‘responsible person’, who must manage the implementation of fire precautions, and carry out appropriate risk assessments.

These mandatory checks can go a considerable way in reducing the potential impact of fire or arson attacks. For instance, sprinkler systems can play a key role in mitigating the impact of a fire and should be given early consideration in all significant new build schemes. The same can be said for hard wired automatic fire detection, which can reduce the risk of a serious incident. In addition, portable fire extinguishers should be accessible and evenly distributed throughout the premises, and have suitable signs provided.

Mandatory checks aside, there are several other simple measures that can prevent fire incidents occurring. For example, waste should be removed regularly and not left inside buildings. Residents should be advised to restrict the use and storage of any highly flammable liquids and combustible material within housing units. Proper letterbox openings are also important, as they can help lower the risk of arson by making it more difficult to pour in an accelerant or push fireworks into the property. Residents should also be instructed never to wedge open fire doors, which are particularly important within multi-storey and high-rise blocks for stopping fires from spreading.

To ensure these measures have maximum impact, social housing providers need to put in place strict protocols and procedures to ensure all relevant parties are aware of the steps that need to be taken. The ‘responsible person’ has a key role to play. Typically a member of the housing or estate management team, it is their duty to ensure that the fire-risk assessment is carried out by a competent person; someone with sufficient training, knowledge, equipment and experience to take into account the size of the premises and the specific hazards involved.

Staff co-operation is also crucial. Employees should be made aware of the fire risk as part of their training and encouraged to report hazards or, in the case of arson, to report anything suspicious. It is also best practice to carry out regular inspection regimes, and to ensure that records of assessments and any maintenance are kept. Only by conducting such assessments will risks be fully identified, leading to the implementation of appropriate control measures.

Social housing providers are under pressure from ongoing public sector cuts and housing reforms, which are putting further pressure on the sector and driving a trend towards diversification of services. While it is crucial that the sector deal with, and adapt to these emerging developments, there is no room for complacency when it comes to long-held threats such as fire. Most providers already have strict protocols in place to protect their residents, but those lagging behind must be encouraged to ‘put out’ the risk of fire.

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Fire Design Solutions Launches All-New Website

Award-winning smoke ventilation contractor, Fire Design Solutions (FDS), has launched its all-new website, making it even easier for developers, architects, consultants and contractors to find out about the benefits of including bespoke fire safety systems in their next project.

Featuring an updated, easy to navigate design, the responsive site is optimised for viewing on tablets, phones and desktop computers, meeting the demands of the increasing number of visitors using these devices.

Compatible with all major browsers, the website includes information on FDS’ wide range of fire safety systems including mechanical smoke ventilation and corridor environmental systems, residential sprinkler systems and the company’s innovative open protocol FireSmart control system.

For a more in-depth look at particular systems, video content is also available, providing detailed descriptions and high quality footage, demonstrating the equipment in operation.

Whether an FDS project is in the residential, commercial, leisure or mixed-use sectors, details of the systems installed and the benefits that they offer are  featured on the site’s updated ‘projects’ section, giving visitors real-world examples of the significant advantages that fire engineered solutions can offer.

To keep users abreast of the company’s latest developments, the website also features an updated news/blog section, complete with date and category filters to help visitors find the most relevant information for their needs, while an embedded Twitter feed provides real-time updates without users having to leave the page.

For more information visit www.firedesignsolutions.com

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New Sport’s Bar Protected by Fike Fire Detection

Corey’s Sports Bar, a newly refurbished nightspot in Tamworth, UK, has invested in a fire detection solution from Fike Safety Technology (FST). Located in the town centre, the new bar opened at the end of 2014 and offers local residents the latest sports, music, entertainment and food – 7 days a week. FST approved systems integrator, Justice Fire & Security, designed and installed a solution based on the company’s popular Duonet single-loop intelligent addressable fire alarm system.

“The innovative technology built into the Duonet panel is designed to significantly reduce false alarms and provide the flexibility required for demanding environments such as nightclubs” explained, Steve Grant, Installations Manager of Justice Fire & Security. “This flexibility combined with the benefits of FST’s multi-criteria detectors made Duonet an obvious choice for this project.”

Forty devices including Multipoint ASD detectors, call points, sounders and beacons, were installed in the bar – up to 200 devices can be installed on a single loop. The Multipoint ASD detector provides high performance and flexibility through multiple choices of detection mode, combined with an optional built-in 90dBA sounder and strobe. The unit can be set to a single mode or a combination, for a choice of up to 15 different settings. Each detector also has an in-built loop isolator as well as optional I/O for local control and switching. This single device can be used in all fire detection applications simply by changing its mode of operation. For example, the detectors protecting the dance floor have been programmed to a heat mode as the bar uses a smoke machine for effects. This flexibility also allows the system to be easily re-configured if the layout of the venue changes at any time in the future.

“As a system designer and installer the flexibility of the Multipoint ASD Detectors is a great advantage. We only have to stock a couple of different versions of detector and they can easily be re-programmed on site if we come across any problems during commissioning”, added Steve.

To aid evacuation in the event of fire, standalone strobes were installed in the toilets as well as on detectors on the dance floor. The use of integral strobes eliminates the need to install a separate strobe and therefore saves time and money. Loop mounted I/O modules were used to automatically turn off the sound system and turn on the lighting if an alarm is triggered.

The Duonet panel provides up to 2-loops, whereas Quadnet, its larger brother, has a capacity of up to 4 loops making addressable Multipoint ASD detector technology available to customers with systems of up to 800 devices. The standard black high-gloss finish of the panels not only reflects its state-of-the-art technology, but also enhances its surroundings – rather than be hidden away as is often the need with traditional fire alarm control panels. Duonet’s design, performance and flexibility appeals to consultants, end-users, installers and engineers alike.

For further information please contact Fike Safety Technology on Tel: 01633 865 558, Email: fstinfo@fike.com or visit www.fikesafetytechnology.co.uk.

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Nittan at FIREX International 2015

Stand G165

Nittan Europe will be exhibiting its comprehensive range of analogue addressable fire safety products at this year’s FIREX International, 16-18th of June at London’s ExCeL.

Key products in Nittan’s ranges will be displayed, including Evolution detectors featuring patented, award winning Dual Optical technology plus a number of new products will be revealed at the show. The devices will be exhibited in a refreshing and approachable way to allow visitors to interact directly with them to see the quality build.

As Nittan’s premium fire system, the Evolution range will take pride of place on Nittan’s stand.   Evolution combines truly exceptional and reliable fire detection with a very high degree of protection against unwanted false alarms. Its advanced, highly flexible protocol is resistant to interference and allows for substantial amounts of information to be transmitted at high speed. It features Analogue Addressable detectors, with up to 254 addresses per loop as well as a full range of accessories and Conventional devices.

Established for over 30 years, Nittan’s Sensortec brand will also be on display. Sensortec has gained an excellent reputation for reliability and ease of installation. It features a wide range of high performance Analogue Addressable detectors and sounders.

The Nittan Group has been at the forefront of the international fire protection industry since 1954 and has sales, R&D and manufacturing bases in four countries, including the UK. The company continuously innovates and strives for exceptional quality products that meet the highest of standards.

Nittan manufactures over four million detectors each year and has specialist expertise in designing and supplying fire safety systems for some of the most demanding, regulated markets on earth, including marine and oil. The company applies its engineering excellence to all of its products bringing the highest standards of build quality, performance and reliability, exceeding the standards for even the most demanding of markets.

FIREX International is the leading event for every professional involved in fire protection, prevention and detection, and offers a comprehensive selection of the latest and greatest products in the market as well as being a great opportunity for professionals to network. The exhibition will be held at ExCeL London and is expected to welcome more than 14000 visitors.

To learn more about Nittan’s products, visit stand G165 at FIREX International or go to www.nittan.co.uk

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Manufacturers set the standard high for new visual alarm devices

Deryck Sayers, Key Accounts Manager, Gent by Honeywell

Whether contractors are working in the domestic, industrial or commercial sectors, complying with the relevant safety standards are a given for every building professional. In the fire industry, every fire detection and alarm (FD&A) product and each element of the design, installation and maintenance process is governed by a multitude of standards and regulations.

One of the more recent standards, EN54-23, was introduced to the industry early last year to specify the performance of Visual Alarm Devices (VADs). The main purpose of the new standard was to set out the conformance criteria for VADs and as this had never been specified before, the industry was faced with a huge challenge. Not only did manufacturers have to familiarise themselves with all of the complexities and the finer details of the standard, they also had to tackle the glaring issue that there were no products on the market that would actually fully comply.

The new standard dictates that if the VADs are used on a fire alarm system as a primary means of alerting the public, they will need to be certified to EN54-23. The standard has set the benchmark for the performance of these devices so that, regardless of the brand, they can now easily be compared across manufacturers.

VADs are used as visual alerts in a range of applications, with the most common installations being in buildings where there are deaf or hard of hearing people present. For several years, VADs have been part of fire alarm systems, either as beacons or sounder/beacons, to signal that a fire alarm has been raised. These types of devices were historically used to satisfy the Equality Act, and subsequently, it was the updated legislation in the Equality Act 2010 that prompted the new EN54-23 standard to be introduced.

Due to the absence of products unable to conform to the new standard, when EN54-23 came into play, manufacturers of any FD&A solutions that used VADs had to subsequently design and produce a range of solutions. Now, all manufacturers have to present their products’ performance data in exactly the same way, so they can be measured in a uniform manner, and their suitability assessed for specific applications.

Under the directive, VADs are classified into three categories based on their intended application. They can be certified as either a wall mounted device or a ceiling mounted device, and there is also an open class category. EN54-23 dictates that each of these categories have specific targets for light distribution patterns in order to be compliant, and every device has to have a precise coverage volume. In simple terms, the standard specifies both a minimum performance criteria for quality of the electronics (such as water and dust protection), as well as the intensity and spread of light throughout the room space.

The mounting position of the VADs determines the different light dispersion characteristics. Wall mounted devices will require a minimum mounting height of 2.4 metres combined with areas of spread of light. For example, if a specification was W-2.4-15, this device would have a 2.4 metre mounting height and a 15 metre spacing.  Ceiling mounted devices must state the height of the ceiling and need to radiate light in a cylinder, so if the specification code was C-6-16, it would be installed at a ceiling height of six metres and would cover a 16 metre diameter.

Each of these categories also have specific targets for light distribution in order to be compliant, and every device has to state the maximum height and area of coverage for which it would achieve an effective illuminance of 0.4 lux throughout.

In terms of specific applications for VADs, aside from providing a main alert or a secondary alert for deaf or hard of hearing people, they are also commonly used in areas with high background noise, such as factories where people have to wear ear defenders to comply with health and safety legislation. Many construction sites would also consider the use of VADs for the noisier areas or if any workers suffer from a hearing impairment.

Other applications include places where it is just not practical to have a loud noise, such as in theatres during a performance, where flashing strobes would be used to alert employees only, to avoid a potential panic situation from the audience. These visual alerts are also commonly used as part of the FDA solutions in hospital environments, in areas where an audible alarm would be ineffective, such as inside operating theatres.

Since EN54-23 launched, manufacturers have carried out a number of installations of their new VADs and some of these latest products actually go beyond the new requirements. Gent by Honeywell redesigned its range of S-Quad and S-Cubed devices to provide a ceiling and wall solution that exceeds the standard.

Importantly the S-Quad VADs have the same spacing equivalent to that of smoke sensors, removing the need to add any extra devices. This makes the design element more straightforward for contractors, and designers can have the peace of mind knowing it will comply with the all of the latest requirements.

Like every new standard that is introduced, the overriding purpose is to protect lives and property and it is critical that anyone involved in the design, commissioning and installation process is familiar with every aspect of the regulation. The performance requirements may sound complex, however it’s clear that the latest solutions launched to market will provide the ultimate protection requirements.

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FFE’s Light Cancelation Technology Receives UK Patent

Device prevents false readings by filtering out ambient light

FFE has been awarded a UK patent (Patent No. GB2513366) for its innovative new light cancelation technology for its Fireray range of infrared beam smoke detectors.

The technology works by actively monitoring ambient light levels on the detector and ‘subtracting’ them away from the ‘real’ signal. This allows the detector to work under the most difficult light conditions, including sunlight, sodium lamps and fluorescent lighting.

“It’s no exaggeration to say that this technology is unique,” comments FFE research engineer Dr. Daniel Waldron. “No-one else offers ambient light cancellation technology that allows the beam to cope with all manner of challenging light conditions, both natural and man-made. This means fewer false alarms and false readings.”

“FFE is focussed on our customers and it is their needs that drive our innovation,” adds managing director Mark Osborne. “Through our ongoing R&D programme we are developing world-leading technologies. I’m delighted with this patent as it demonstrates yet again our ability to understand and address the challenges faced in the fire industry on a daily basis.”

By using infrared beams, Fireray beam detectors can identify smoke over much larger areas than traditional fire detection devices, making them perfectly suited for large indoor spaces such as warehouses, sports arenas and aircraft hangars. Usually wall-mounted at near-ceiling level, they work by transmitting a beam of invisible infrared light across the building space to be protected. A receiver detects and measures the light and can recognise smoke interference anywhere along the beam path, triggering the alarm signal when the pre-determined threshold is reached.

About FFE

FFE is a global design and manufacturing business, dedicated to supplying specialist detection products to the fire industry. Headquartered in the UK with offices in the USA, Dubai, India and China, the company’s two leading brands are the Fireray optical beam smoke detector, with over half a million units installed worldwide, and the Talentum flame detector, one of the world’s most respected flame detector brands. FFE also leads the global market in providing fire extinguishers for aviation use and produces a range of vibration switches for industrial applications. FFE is a Halma Company.

Tel: +44 (0)1462 444 740, Email: sales@ffeuk.com   Website: www.ffeuk.com

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Controlling False Fire Alarms in Hotels with AlarmCalm

False and unwanted fire alarms are one of the big issues in fire safety and building management today. To tackle the issue of false alarms on any site, global fire systems business Advanced has developed AlarmCalm, a complete false alarm management (FAM) solution.

The hotel industry has very unique needs when it comes to false alarm management and Advanced has recently released a ‘false alarm focus document’ for hotels that shows the power of AlarmCalm in scenarios commonly experienced by the hotel operators, managers and fire professionals. The document covers false alarm management in bedrooms, conferencing, kitchen and dining areas and reception, common areas and corridors. It also covers the role trained staff can play in reducing false alarms.

AlarmCalm is a total package and features enhanced firmware, comprehensive configuration software for Advanced’s fire systems and new intelligent alarm acknowledgement devices called AlarmCalm Buttons. It provides total, easily-managed control over alarm verification periods and investigation delays to outputs.

AlarmCalm allows a hotel to be divided into false alarm management zones called Building Areas (up to 200 per panel or 40,000 per network). These are virtual areas that can be independent of fire zones and can share grouped or have individual FAM settings. There is no limit to the number of points in a Building Area and every device in the area can be configured precisely. Complicated cause-and-effect is also easily programmed.

Alarm verification is one of the key areas of FAM and AlarmCalm facilitates this in a number of ways. Verification settings for a site can be applied incredibly quickly by assigning all common areas (such as corridors, stairwells and reception areas) with group settings, while allowing specific areas (such as bedrooms or meeting rooms) to have individual settings. Verification can be set to on or off, with different settings for day/night operation.

Verification can be set quickly according to device type in each Building Area. Heat, smoke, multi-sensors and other inputs (such as call points or any input modules) can be used as verification inputs and set by device type or individually per point.

Once a signal is detected, AlarmCalm starts a programmable ‘stage one’ verification time. At the end of this time, if the signal is still present the system will go into full alarm. During this time the signal can be confirmed by mode or sensitivity change, for example an optical heat detector switching to heat to verify the signal, or by coincidence detection. If the signal clears the system resets to normal.

Verification can occur simultaneously in multiple areas and users can set the maximum number of Building Areas in verification at any one time before a full fire condition is indicated.

Within the accommodation area of a hotel, for example, the maximum number of Building Areas in alarm could be set to two. This means that if more than two bedrooms or other areas are in verification, a full evacuation will be sounded. If any common area (such as corridor) where no verification is allowed by standards goes into alarm, a full evacuation will also automatically be sounded.

The role of trained hotel staff in verifying and reducing false alarms

There is growing awareness of the role that staff can play in helping to reduce unwanted false alarms.

Advanced’s new intelligent, loop-powered Alarm Acknowledgement device, the AlarmCalm Button, can be used to manually verify if an alarm signal is false, for example from smoke as a result of cooking, or heat in the hotel kitchen.

By pressing the AlarmCalm Button, a staff member initiates a ‘second stage’ verification time and (optionally), the local sounder can be silenced. If after the second stage time the signal has cleared, the system will reset to normal conditions, if the signal in the detector is still present, a full fire condition will be signalled. During the second stage period, a fire condition is also indicated if the alarm is confirmed by another method such as sensitivity change or second detector.

AlarmCalm Buttons can only extend verification time once (before a system reset). If a real fire ensues, a full fire condition will be signalled.

Advanced believes AlarmCalm is the easiest installed and configured FAM system available. AlarmCalm Buttons are easily installed on the loop and recognised in the panel software on auto learn. They are compatible with a standard UK single-gang back box, can be flush or surface mounted and include a configurable LED, buzzer and slide in label.

Sounders, beacons and relays in each Building Area can be operated during the verification period and can be quickly set by all devices of each type or individually by point. Sounder ringing styles are also fully configurable and can utilise a different tone during verification and alarm periods.

The same approach in the software is taken with Investigation Delays to Outputs, meaning a full FAM strategy can be easily set up and configured.

AlarmCalm is currently available on Advanced’s EN54 2, 4 & 13 approved MxPro 5 and Axis EN fire systems.

Advanced is a world leader in the development and manufacture of intelligent fire systems. The legendary performance, quality and ease-of-use of its products sees them used in prestigious and challenging locations all over the world, from single panel installations to large multi-site networks. Advanced products include complete fire detection systems, multi-protocol fire panels, extinguishing control and fire paging systems.

http://uk.advancedco.com/

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Beam Smoke Detectors the right choice for Peterborough Warehouse

Illumino Ignis prefers FFE’s Fireray over fixed point detectors

Illumino Ignis has selected FFE’s Fireray 5000 infra-red beam smoke detectors to protect its Peterborough warehouse. The company, a leading supplier of fire, safety and disability products, selected Fireray beam detectors over more conventional fixed-point detectors.

Infra-red beam smoke detectors provide wide area detection and are used when it is impractical, inappropriate or not cost effective to use traditional point-type detectors. They are ideally suited to large interiors with high ceilings, such as warehouses, as they enable coverage of a large area at minimal cost.

“Installing FFE’s beam detectors instead of point detectors was the right decision for our warehouse,” comments Illumino Ignis’ Sales Technical Manager Jason Hill. “We saved a lot of time and money with the installation as we did not need to hire access equipment or install long cable runs. The Fireray really is ideal for a large warehouse like ours as the beams easily cover the entire length of the building’s interior.”

The built-in laser is also an excellent feature as it helped us position the detectors in the correct position, avoiding the light fittings hanging from the warehouse roof,” added Jason.

The motorised, reflective, auto aligning Fireray 5000 combines an infrared transmitter and receiver in the same unit and operates by projecting a well-defined beam to a reflective prism, which returns the beam to the receiver for analysis. It can be installed with up to two detector heads per system, saving on installation time and costs. In addition, each system controller houses two pairs of fire and fault relays, one per detector. The Fireray 5000 excels at detecting smoke over large areas in wide indoor spaces, with the infra-red beam of a single detector spanning up to 100m.

 In addition to warehouses, other applications for FFE beam detectors include exhibition centres, shopping malls, airports, hotels and museums – basically any large indoor spaces.

About FFE

FFE (formerly known as Fire Fighting Enterprises) is a UK based global design and manufacturing business, dedicated to supplying specialist detection products to the fire industry. FFE products are relied on worldwide, in high profile public infrastructure, commercial workspaces and industrial operating environments. FFE portfolio includes infrared optical beam smoke detectors, flame detectors, fire extinguishers for the aviation market and industrial vibration switches. FFE is a Halma Company.

Tel: +44 (0)1462 444 740, Email: sales@ffeuk.com Website: www.ffeuk.com

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Fire door safety: what you need to know

Fire doors are important safety features of any public building and so it’s vital that they provide the highest level of protection. In order to prevent the spread of fires and save lives, fire doors should be checked and maintained on a regular basis to ensure they are in full working order at all times. Martin Smith, product manager at IronmongeryDirect, gives his advice on what to look out for when maintaining fire doors.

Regular maintenance checks need to be carried out on all components of a fire door in order to avoid liability and ensure the safe operation of the door. These should include visual checks which help to identify general wear and tear and damages. Mechanical checks are also beneficial in ensuring components such as door closers and hold open devices are fully functional.

When carrying out maintenance on fire doors it’s important to know what components need to be checked and to what specification. From seals to hinges, door closers and opening devices, all components of a fire door should be checked regularly to ensure they are in full working order at all times.

Seals

Intumescent strips are an extremely important component of fire doors as they expand during a fire, filling the gap between the door and the door frame and preventing the spread of fires and smoke.

Intumescents can expand up to ten times their original size during a fire so it’s vital that the correct and appropriate intumescent is used in accordance with the fire door safety label. They should be firmly set in place and free from any damage or general wear and tear.

Brush and fin type seals, particularly useful for reducing friction and noise, should be free from damage and be continuous around the frame or door leaf. If the fire door has a drop –down seal these also need to be checked to make sure they are dropping downwards when the door is closed.

Hinges, locks and latches

Hinges, locks and latches are all equally important when considering the different hardware components of a fire door. If these are not regularly maintained or replaced when broken the risk of the fire door not doing its job correctly during a fire is extremely high.

When it comes to hinges, fire doors need a minimum of three to operate correctly. These should be fitted with the right amount of screws at the right size and marked with a CE stamp and BSEN 1935. They should be routinely checked for any leakages or metal fragments that are signs of wear and should be treated if they are showing any rust or corrosion.

Locks and latches also need to be considered as they help to ensure a door remains closed within its frame. The latch should hold the door firmly in place without rattling and have the correct intumescent sleeve to retain the doors integrity. They should be CE marked to BS EN 12209 and further product certification by a third party is recommended.

 Door closers

Another important feature to consider when checking the upkeep of a fire door is its door closer. Automatic closing devices should be fitted to all fire doors and be capable of closing the door from any angle of opening. This can be tested by opening the door to five degrees and making sure it closes and engages with the latch.

Another factor to bear in mind is that most door closers are graded with a power size. This needs to be a minimum of size 3 for a fire door; any lower than this and it is not considered suitable and needs to be changed immediately.

Hold open devices

Hold open devices such as the Dorgard Fire Door Holder are a great way of legally holding open fire doors instead of using a wedge or other device, which is against fire regulations. These devices, used together with a door closer, will activate after hearing a fire alarm allowing the door to close automatically.

These devices need to be maintained and tested on a regular basis. The unit must be located in the vicinity of the active alarm or bell in order to operate correctly.

Fire doors are a fundamental part of fire protection. All components need to be checked on a regular basis and repaired or replaced by qualified tradespeople if they are found to be damaged or broken. It’s essential to consider every detail when maintaining and checking fire doors in order that they provide the maximum protection against the spread of fires.

For more information, please visit www.IronmongeryDirect.co.uk

T: 0808 168 28 28

E: sales@IronmongeryDirect.co.uk

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