Ask Sheila - Archive
Sheila Scott OBE has now retired and therefore is no longer available to answer your social care questions. However, you might still find the answer you’ve been searching for down below.
Can fire doors be wedged?
Hi Sheila, I manage the maintenance for 4no Care Homes in Yorkshire and am always challenged by how to "prop" fire doors, in particular, bedroom doors of course. I am using Dorgards and the like in various cases but being asked to install them throughout the properties, both expensive and labour intensive to maintain... have you come across any situation whereby fire doors could be "wedged" during daytime hours and removed in the event of an alarm under risk assessment? I had a visit from an FSO who stated this would be no problem for his watch. Any advice or experience most welcome.
Thank you for your question. I cannot stress enough how seriously I take any question about protecting service users from the risk of fire.
I asked Dave Bennion, our Health and Safety expert for his comments and this is what he said:
Firstly, fire doors are installed to act as a shield thus slowing down the spread of fire from one area of a building to the next - this gives extra time to move residents to a place of safety in the event of a fire. Most care homes and hospitals operate a horizontal evacuation behind 2 fire doors from where the fire is.
Wedging open fire doors breaks that shield assisting the spread of fire and endangering the lives of residents and staff. Having door guards in place does mean that, in the event of a fire, the door will close and act as a fire shield. Wedging fire doors open is never justified and all fire doors must be closed in the event of a fire either by being kept shut or automatically shutting in the event of a fire!
I would advise that you assess which doors could be left open during the day for example for residents who like to their bedroom door open and do not want to be closed in, or for doors that are frequently opened, but in all cases for fire doors there must be an automatic closure process in the event of a fire. All other fire doors must be kept shut via door closers. Whilst I understand the expense and maintenance required, it is a small price to pay for keeping people safe and keeps the company out of court for non-compliance. Remember that any changes to the home regarding fire safety need to be reflected in a revised Fire Risk Assessment which is a requirement under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
All staff need to be made aware of any changes to the fire risk assessment and fire safety policy document to ensure
you they operate safely and comply.
All staff need to be made aware of any changes to the fire risk assessment and fire safety policy document to ensure you they operate safely and comply.
I would urge you to take on board Dave's advice.
*All information is correct at the time of publishing.
Sheila Scott OBE has now retired and therefore is no longer available to answer your social care questions.
For Sheila Scott OBE from National Care Association (NCA), care is Sheila's life. She possesses a strong command of the issues facing the care sector informed by her long career as a nursing professional, the owner and manager of a care business, and as a leader in the care sector.
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