Andy Collinson, Chief Executive Officer at Geofire, looks at the importance of fire safety within facilities management, and how wire-free fire door holding devices provide a cost effective solution to help keep buildings compliant.
Fire safety is a major concern for all building owners and managers, as inefficient precautions to protect the occupants of a building could lead to imprisonment and unlimited fines.
Due to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, the role of ‘competent person’ often falls to the facilities manager who carries out a lot of tasks relating to fire safety such as fire risk assessments and fire door checks.
Reasons fire doors are held open
The security of a building and its contents is often improved by internal doors being held open allowing better visibility for CCTV and security personnel to prevent theft and vandalism.
Health and safety
Health and safety of all visitors and staff is of utmost importance for management yet air quality is often overlooked. In older buildings, walls may be damp with condensation causing a health hazard. Good ventilation and air flow can prevent mould from building. Warmer weather also presents a requirement to hold fire doors open to decrease the heat and humidity in a room.
As part of the Equality Act 2010 buildings must be accessible, with corridors clear of obstructions to allow people with disabilities to navigate through the building. Lighting is also important for the safety of visitors and staff who have a visual impairment, reducing the risk of falls and accidents on steps and uneven ground.
Cumbersome fire doors can be heavy and dangerous for frail, disabled, young and older people as they move around the building. Holding open fire doors in a care establishment such as a hospital and nursing home also makes it easier to move patients, trolleys and equipment.
Holding fire doors in the open position reduces the damage to expensive fire doors in high traffic areas. When fire doors are damaged, they become less effective in the event of a fire and could be deemed completely obsolete by the fire safety authorities, which could lead to huge fines.
Kick the wedge
Despite the many legitimate reasons for holding a fire door open in any type of building, using wedges or props to fulfil this role leaves the building and its occupants in danger. A fire door must be closed to stop the spread of fire and smoke, compartmentalising the danger zone so evacuation can be safe. Installing electromagnetic fire door devices which automatically close in the event of a fire means you have the benefit of open doors but the peace of mind that your building and its occupants are protected.
The wire-free solution
A wireless system is the ideal solution for existing buildings as it eliminates the need to run cables to each device; ensuring minimal disruption to existing decor. The challenges of hard-wiring fire door systems into an existing building include high costs (electricians to wire through walls and any redecoration required) and disturbing the fabric of the building which may be listed or have architectural value. At Geofire there are two wire-free solutions, the Agrippa sound activated devices and for more high risk, large and noisy areas, the Salamander fire door system.
Agrippa fire door sound activated technology
The Agrippa fire door devices will automatically close the door on hearing the sound of the fire alarm. The technology within the devices learns the specific sound of the alarm in each building, so reduces the risk of false activations.
What’s great about the Agrippa range is that they can be installed by anyone as they are wire-free, there is no specialist training needed. The holders can be installed in around 5-10 minutes with an easy to use drill template. The Agrippa fire door devices can also be programmed to close the fire doors at a designated time allowing you to save energy consumption and therefore saving budget.
Salamander radio-controlled fire door system
The highest level of fire safety (critical actuation or category A) can be achieved through our Salamander wire-free fire door devices. They are controlled by radio technology that is directly linked to the fire alarm control panel. This direct connection means that the risk of false activation is eliminated, making it ideal for large and noisy environments such as hotels, airports and football stadiums.
Installing fire door devices is a simple way to ensure compliance and keeps a building and its occupant’s safe in the event of a fire.
For more information on these wire-free fire door systems, please go to www.geofire.co.uk and contact a distributor or installer listed on the website.