Ask Sheila - Archive England

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.

24th June 2020

Is it safe to prop open a fire door?

I’m just wanting something clarifying if you could please. I’m working in a nursing home and am doing a 1-2-1 with a resident. She is in isolation so therefore in her room all the times at present. Her bedroom door is a fire door, but as I am with her for 12 hours I prop it open. I have been told before by somebody in fire safety that it is not a problem having open as long as you are in the room, but to close it should you leave the room. I can’t find any information at all regarding this so your help would be appreciated.

Thank you for your question. Fire doors should be closed at all times unless certified fire door retainers have been fitted. Fire door retainers hold fire doors open until a fire alarm is set off, closing it once the alarm has been triggered. In the event of a fire, an insurer may be unwilling to pay for damages when a door has been wedged or propped open. The majority of fire doors will hold a fire in a room for 30 minutes by which time the Fire & Rescue Service will be on site. In fires that have occurred, wedging open doors can cause a chimney effect, which causes fire to spread rapidly, destroying entire buildings. I can imagine that your resident will feel very isolated with her door shut however and I wonder if you could make sure that she has the means to communicate with other people if she is alone in her room such as WhatsApp video, facetime etc?

*All information is correct at the time of publishing.

About Sheila

Sheila Scott OBE has now retired and over the years , prior to her retirement she has answered thousands of your social questions. You can still access the many questions below.

For Sheila Scott OBE as the former CEO of 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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