Our fire door inspectors have seen it all… from fire door wedging and broken doors to inaccessible emergency exits. Here we list some of the most common user-error fire door mistakes and of course, how to avoid them!
1) In at number one is wedging fire doors open and unfortunately this is far too commonplace. Especially in the times we live in, reducing contact has taken priority over basic fire preventative measures. However, wedging your fire door open is extremely dangerous and not to mention, illegal. Fire doors are designed to close behind you, slowing the spread of fire and smoke, and giving you extra time in the event of an emergency. If you need to have doors open right now, fire door closers are a great option. Professional installers can fit this to the bottom of your door and then in the event of an emergency the fire door closer will release – this is the only safe solution. Pacific have many fire door closer options available and will survey for their install free of charge.
2) Choosing the wrong door hardware, such as letter boxes and seals that are not fire safe. Getting the correct equipment for your fire door, is as important as maintaining your fire door. Don’t spoil your installation with incorrect, poorly fitting, and non-compliant door hardware. Research your product and make sure it is fit for purpose, as incorrect hardware can damage the fire door’s integrity, limiting the time it will do its job for or in some cases- not allowing it to do its job at all. If in doubt- get the professionals in for advice or to choose and fit this for you.
3) Not getting your fire doors maintained and inspected often enough. BWF-CERTFIRE Best Practice Guide stipulates that fire doors should be inspected every 6 months, especially in high-traffic dwellings such as hotels and high-rise flats. However, everyone should be taking note. Consider the people that work or live within your property, do any of them have restricted mobility to evacuate quickly? Are there lots of people in the area making escape slower and more difficult? Don’t ignore your fire doors, make sure they are always in good condition to perform how they should in an emergency. Speak to a professional certified company to set up a contract, this doesn’t need to be expensive, and Pacific have plenty of affordable options.
4) Don’t let tenants in your building replace their own doors… and don’t replace them yourself. Fire doors aren’t a DIY task you should attempt yourself; they need to be properly installed and tested to ensure that they are fit for purpose. Always ensure that your fire doors are fitted by professionals and keep a rolling contract for their regular inspections.
5) Removing the self-closing device fitted to the door. This not only damages the integrity of the door if not done properly, but also limits the function of the fire door itself. Fire doors need to remain closed to work efficiently, a self-closer ensures that the door has closed properly and slowly. Removing the device may limit how far the door will close and may cause it to close quickly, potentially injuring anyone who uses it.
6) Noticed damage to your fire door? Maybe the hinges aren’t fitted properly, the door isn’t closing, the seals are broken, or the door is marked and dented. Don’t just leave it to chance, get a professional company to rectify these issues as soon as possible. Repairs are often cost-efficient, far more cost efficient than fire-damage. Pacific offer a free site-survey, so if you aren’t sure on whether your fire door needs attention, give us a call and we can clarify this for you and advise on any necessary repair works.
7) Blocked and inaccessible emergency exit. Far too often fire door exits become a dumping ground for busy offices, retail spaces etc. Doubling as a break-out area, a space for boxes and other items waiting to be taken to the bin. Ensure your fire door exit is always clear of obstructive items and is clearly sign-posted for anyone within your premises.
8) Finishing up at number 8 is inappropriate security systems on fire doors. Fire door exits by nature should be free from obstruction and easy to use, being the final stage of exit in the event of an emergency. Therefore, locking these with inappropriate security measures such as padlocks and chains is a big no, no for us. Instead, speak to a security company to install a better suited security system to ensure your premises are secure, but also easy to flee from if needed.
Don’t leave fire door safety to chance. This basic form of fire prevention, when maintained correctly, can be a lifeline in the event of a fire.