Propping open fire doors

Posted by rmt22 at Jul 13, 2018 03:13 PM |
Take a quick look at our advice on dealing with the warm weather sensibly.

It’s a bit warm isn’t it? As we sit at our desks melting in this surprisingly long lasting period of stable, frankly un-British warm weather, many of you are quite understandably trying to mitigate the effects of the heat by increasing the airflow by various means, including propping open doors with a variety of wedges.

This wedging of doors has caused some alarm amongst the more safety aware of you and we’ve had several reports of doors marked as Fire Doors being wedged open. So why are those making these reports concerned?

What is a Fire Door?

Fire doors are robust doors fitted with various extras that will stop the spread of fire and smoke for a minimum of 30 minutes and allow us to keep escape routes from buildings clear, which is particularly important if you’re trying to escape a burning building. Fire doors are clearly marked by the words “Fire Door Keep Shut (or sometimes, keep locked)” written in white text on a blue circular background. These doors are highly effective but obviously, only work when they are closed.

As smoke is the greatest threat to life in a fire situation and it travels quickly and easily, fire doors are a crucial part of our fire safety strategy.

Is this when you tell us not to wedge doors but provide no suggestions for the heat?

Come on, you know us better than that!

It’s important that you understand what the doors in your area are for. Take a look at the door you intend to wedge and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is it a fire door? If it’s not, you’re likely to be ok to wedge it
  • If it is a fire door, does it already have a hold open device? These are devices that are connected to the fire alarm and will release the door in the event of an alarm. Look for something attached to the bottom of the door, a magnet attached to the top of the door or extra cables and a bulky self-closer.  If the door has any of these, do not wedge it open. If the hold open device no longer functions, report it to ECS.
  • Is it just a door to an office or a classroom? If so, it can be wedged but only if you manage this process, i.e. the last person to leave the room removes the wedge, every time, even if they intend to return shortly.
  • Does the door bisect a corridor or stairwell? In these cases you must not wedge the door.
  • Is it the door to a laboratory or other area that should stay closed off? In these cases you must not wedge the door.

In addition, please remember fire doors also may support the security plan for your area. Being kept shut and having door access readers on doors ensures only authorised persons are able to enter controlled or sensitive spaces or areas.

Any questions?

If you have any questions about fire safety, initially contact your Departmental Safety Adviser or Building Safety Supervisor. Information on DSO’s and BSS’s is available from our web pages.

If you need to report defects in your fire doors, the equipment used to hold them open or anything else relating to the fabric of the building, please contact the Estates and Campus Services Service Desk

If you have any other safety related concerns, please contact Safety Services by email or our safety concerns web report form.

Take a quick look at our advice on dealing with the warm weather sensibly.Take a quick look at our advice on dealing with the warm weather sensibly.

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