Fire doors – Common queries from our fire safety forum

Safelincs operates a fire safety forum where people’s fire safety questions are answered by professionals. One of the frequently-raised topics are Fire Doors. This blog compiles some of the key points raised by the forum.

A fire door is designed to function both as a door and as a barrier to a fully developed fire in a building

Whilst any closed door will help to delay the spread of a fire, those designated specifically as fire doors must be capable of resisting the effect of fire for a period set out in its specification – typically 30 minutes.

Strictly speaking a fire door should be referred to as ‘a fire resisting doorset’ or fire door assembly including a frame as well.

This is because the door and the door frame act together in the context of fire resistance. In information pertaining to fire resistance you will see the actual door referred to as the ‘door leaf’ or simply the ‘leaf’. Other components are hardware (closers, hinges, etc.) and seals which must be to fire rated standards.

There are two types of smoke seal

  • A brush type seal will prevent the escape of cold smoke around the edges of the fire door. Smoke inhalation can be more dangerous than the fire itself. It is important, when fitting smoke seals, that they do not hinder the full and effective closure of the door.
  • Intumescent fire door seals remain dormant under normal conditions but expand greatly in the heat of a fire to close the gap between the door and its frame. A fire door required to provide resistance to the passage of a well-developed fire must be fitted with intumescent seals. These seals activate at temperatures that are above human survival levels, so there is no danger of them expanding and trapping people trying to escape.

Safelincs’ fire door seals contain both an intumescent strip as well as a brush to stop both smoke and fire. There are rare occasions where a brush is not helpful (if traces of smoke are required to drift through the door gap to trigger an alarm on the other side of the fire door). In these very rare cases, please contact our staff and we will supply you with intumescent strips without brush.

Fire doors are rated in accordance with the length of time they will resist a fire

A door rated FD30 will resist the passage of fire for 30 minutes, an FD60 for 60 minutes and so forth. If a fire door is rated FD30s it will have been fitted with the appropriate seal containing both intumescent and brush to resist the passage of cold smoke for 30 minutes as well.
Safelincs sells rebated or surface-mounted intumescent fire door seals which resist fire for 30 or 60 minutes (suitable for FD30 or FD60 fire doors). All Safelincs seals are available for single and double fire doors and can be fitted in the frame or the door leaf.

British Standards set out details on the permitted gaps around a fire door

BS 8214:2008 states that the gap along the sides, top and between the leaves of a double door should be 3 mm +/- 1 mm. Under-door (threshold) gaps should be in accordance with the manufacturer’s installation instructions for the particular doorset design.
If the fire door is required to stop cold smoke as well (FDs) it should be fitted with a threshold seal underneath the door to stop the smoke. When fitted, threshold smoke seals should give an even contact with the floor but should not significantly increase friction that could hinder the opening or closing of the door.

When fitting a fire door, the door leaf can be shortened by cutting a section off at the bottom. However, the amount that can be removed at the sides is strictly limited. You need to contact the manufacturer about the maximum that can be planed off.

Fire doors should not be left open

Fire door closers have to be used to ensure that fire doors are kept shut, except when people are passing through them. There are a number of different types of closers on the market, including some which are concealed and unobtrusive – maintaining the character of a door – ideal for stylish offices or historic buildings.

It is illegal to prop fire doors open unless the door holder (also called fire door retainer) is capable of automatically releasing the door in case of a fire being detected. These work either acoustically (‘hearing’ the fire alarm) or by being wired into a building’s fire alarm system.

If users (for example disabled people) find fire doors with closers difficult to open, ‘swing free’ devices can be used

In some circumstance the force needed to open a fire door against the resistance of the fire door closers is too great for the user to manage. Bedroom doors in care facilities for the elderly or disabled and some rooms in clinics or hospitals are examples. Such doors can be fitted with “swing free” devices. These allow the door to be easily opened or closed without any door closer resitance. They also stay open in any open position required. They are linked to a fire alarm system and will resume their self-closing function in the event of a fire.

The entrance doors to flats, within a block of flats, should be fire doors

Where there a re jointly used exit routes the individual entrance doors in blocks of flats should usually be fire doors to safeguard residents in the building.

Fire doors can be painted with ordinary paint; however, fire door fittings need to be fire-rated

Door fittings include hinges, door closers and glazing. Locks just need to be CE marked (the CE marking indicating compliance with EU product legislation). Fire doors seals can be painted over although excessive thickness of paint should be avoided.

Fire doors can be fitted with glass panels

If glazing is required, this has to be carried out using fire resistant glass. There are two main types: Georgian wired and clear glass. Safelincs offers different glass types and a range of common fire door glazing dimensions. Its manufacturing plant will fit the fire door windows and certify the fire door and glazing with a BWF (British Woodworking Federation) certificate.

Fire doors can be fitted with a security viewer

Security viewers can be fitted to fire doors and offer 60 minutes of fire protection. Safelincs offer two models that will cover doors between 35mm and 62mm thick.

Fire doors should be professionally installed

Although a competent builder or joiner can install a fire door, the recommendation would be that the work is carried out under the auspices of the Accredited Fire Door Installers Scheme. This scheme has been developed by the British Woodworking Federation (BWF) in association with FIRAS (installer certification scheme), with the purpose of ensuring that fire door installations are carried out correctly, safely and in compliance with current Building Regulations.

Once the fire door has been installed, it is also important that you carry out regular maintenance checks to ensure that it remains fit for purpose. Ask the installer for guidance on the issues to look for. If you choose to keep the door open with a fire door retainer, close the door at night to avoid the door warping.

Fire doors should not be confused with fire exits

Fire exits are there to ensure a safe escape for people in the event of a fire. That is they have to open easily from the inside and need to open fully. Final fire exits leading to the outside of a building do usually not have to be fire resistant. An exception are fire exits leading to major external evacuation routes. However, fire doors are also fire exits if they are on the route to the final fire exit, eg in corridors.

Safelincs becomes approved supplier of Wyndham hotel chain

ramadaWyndham Hotel Group, part of Wyndham Worldwide Corporation, the world’s largest hotel and holiday chain has signed up Safelincs as the only approved fire safety supplier for its UK operations.

In the UK, Wyndham includes 740 hotels, 15000 cottages, 900 boats as well as 450 holiday parks. Hotels such as Ramada, Days Inn and Encore are some of the hotels that are included in their portfolio. As part of the deal Safelincs have offered favourable terms for the hotels including special prices for fire extinguisher servicing and fire alarm panel maintenance. Harry Dewick-Eisele, MD of Safelincs Ltd stated: “We are proud to be selected by Wyndham as their central fire safety provider. We will make sure that hotels in this group, many of which are already customers of ours, will receive benefits from this co-operation”.

If you are a hotel owner or Facilities Manager of a hotel, contact Safelincs on 01507 462176 or email support@safelincs.co.uk to discuss your needs.

Safelincs recently launched a new business arm, Henry Wolfe, offering beautiful and bespoken fire safety solutions for boutique hotels and other design focused venues.

 

P50 service free extinguishers ideal for prisons

HM PrisonsSeveral HM Prisons recently started the process of introducing the P50 service free extinguisher manufactured largely from composite plastics and aramid fibres (such as Kevlar). These kitemarked extinguishers are 100% corrosion proof and do not require annual servicing nor refilling after five years. In their first ten years of life they are simply visually inspected by the customer’s own personnel. This reduces external visits from contractors and makes the annual vetting of contractors, their equipment and any new fire extinguishers by security personnel unnecessary.

P50s delivered to a prison can easily be x-rayed, as there is no metal cylinder preventing the scan. Equally, when after ten years the extinguishers are being refurbished, the replacements can be brought on site without necessarily opening the extinguishers. While the extinguishers can be refilled easily, a special clamp is required to  open the extinguisher, without this the inner and outer body spin against each other without opening the cylinder head. Unauthorised attempts to open the extinguisher for storage of drugs and other illegal items are hence made more difficult. The dual gauges of the P50 are magnetic so security staff can easily verify if a gauge has been tampered with.

The body of the extinguisher, due to it being manufactured from spun fibre has a degree of elasticity which reduces risk of injury if a person is attacked with an extinguisher.

While the main application of the P50 extinguishers lies in the FM market, churches, offices and agriculture, prisons are now becoming an important market for this product. If you would like to know more about the P50 extinguisher, please contact Safelincs on 01507 462517 or email service@safelincs.co.uk

Safelincs ships first airbnb CO and smoke alarm order

sea-side-holidaySafelincs this week shipped the first batch of CO and smoke alarms to airbnb customers across Europe, as airbnb started its campaign to provide hotels, B+Bs, villas and other types of holiday lets with alarms to improve the safety of holiday makers. Airbnb, a rapidly growing international holiday provider with holiday stays in over 34000 cities in over 190 countries is driving the safety message for all its holiday partners and Safelincs is proud to be part of this drive.

Safelincs had to overcome a number of country specific approval hurdles to ensure that customers in the various European countries receive suitable smoke and CO alarms. Airbnb is planning to send out 50,000 alarms in Europe in the first year. Safelincs and its European franchises are well placed to deal with complex and high volume orders across Europe.

Keeping laptops and ipads secure

Laptop Security BagThe plethora of portable devices we now rely upon means that extra care needs to be taken when travelling around with them. But a lost or stolen device can be viewed as a mere inconvenience when set against the value of the data which may be stored on it.

Organisations need to ensure that its employees take the right precautions to keep sensitive corporate information safe. This is not always a straightforward task as this information no longer resides in the office but can be spread across the globe on the devices of its mobile workforce. One major security breach could cause serious damage to the reputation an organisation has worked hard to build.

In 2007 the UK’s largest building society, Nationwide, was hit with a fine of almost £1 million after one of its employees had their laptop stolen from home. The laptop contained confidential customer information and the society was found, by the then Financial Services Authority, to have inadequate procedures and controls in place .

Of course, any organisation worth its salt will have sophisticated encryption software in place but there are a number of precautions that can be taken to ensure that the inconvenience (and embarrassment!) of a lost devise does not arise.

  • Invest in a laptop / iPad security case for protection against damage and theft. Safelincs’ range of cases and bags feature high quality security cables to attach the mobile device to a fixed object and prevent a laptop bag or security case from being snatched. These can be secured to almost any fixed item and are ideal for use in the boot of a car, hotel room or office.
  • Avoid leaving a laptop unattended in cars or hotel rooms
  • If you need to leave your laptop in a hotel room, put the “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door.
  • Wherever possible, sensitive data should not be held on laptops.
  • Encrypt confidential information
  • Always carry a laptop as hand luggage onto aeroplanes
  • Don’t keep access tokens, or USB sticks in the same bag as the laptop
  • When travelling by car don’t park in secluded places
  • Disable Bluetooth on laptops and mobile phones when out of the office
  • A drink with colleagues after work is a common way of unwinding. But keep an eye on your bag, especially if it’s got your laptop in it. Opportunist thieves are known to strike when people are relaxing and off guard.
  • There have been incidences of people in cars being robbed while stopped, often at traffic lights. So make sure that anything valuable is not on show. If possible, ensure all doors and the boot are locked.

 

BBC turns to Safelincs to look after its journalists

Brazillian World Cup 2014 - BBCPresenters and reporters travelling to the World Cup in Brazil have been equipped with smoke alarms, heat alarms and carbon monoxide alarms by Safelincs.
Any organisation that has employees travelling abroad has a duty of care to ensure that their health and safety is protected. The BBC has its people covering football matches in different parts of Brazil and they will be staying in various types of accommodation.
“I’m sure the accommodation the journalists will be staying in will be perfectly safe,” commented Harry Dewick-Eisele, managing director of Safelincs. “However, uptake of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms has not been as great in South America as it has been in the UK, so the BBC is taking very sensible precautions for its employees travelling to the World Cup.”
Safelincs were able to provide the BBC with a comprehensive selection of products at competitive prices, all delivered in timescales that were second to none.

Free online fire safety logbook for organisations with multiple sites

All businesses and organisations have to maintain fire safety logbooks to record their regular equipment tests and findings. Just to give one example, fire extinguishers have to be visually inspected on a monthly base, serviced yearly and refilled usually after five years (except, of course, the service free P50 fire extinguishers). Fire alarms have to be tested and serviced as well and the list of fire safety equipment requiring regular servicing just goes on and on. Most inspections will be on different dates, so keeping track of your compliance can be a real challenge. If your company is spread over multiple sites, the challenge becomes even more daunting. Multiple members of staff will be involved in the compliance checking and will have to report their data to a central office.

log-book-2

Safelincs has developed a FREE online multi-user fire safety logbook which not only allows the recording of maintenance across multiple sites but also manages a reminder system for all people involved. The system supports the Responsible Person in the  central office with an insight into the overall fire safety recording status. The fire safety logbook will hold all the data for you, however, a backup copy can be printed out at any time. And best of all – this service is entirely free! To use this online fire safety logbook visit our website.

P50 service free extinguisher called into action

drain-picJust a month after it purchased a P50 service free fire extinguisher from Safelincs, Abbey Metal Recycling called it into action.

Late one afternoon at the end of April, a member of staff was cutting a sub-frame with a disc cutter. A spark ignited a pool of oil on the surface of water inside a gully pot which drains into an inceptor tank. Within seconds a small fire broke out, but it was quickly extinguished using the powder P50. There was no damage to the gully pot or drain gate and nobody was injured.

Abbey Metal Recycling is a family owned and operated metal recycler based in Cinderford in Gloucestershire. With over forty years’ experience in the metal recycling business, it has earned a strong reputation within the industry for its dependable service.

The company purchased the P50 as it is an appliance which, due to the nature of its manufacture, requires only an annual check by a member of its own staff rather than a costly yearly visit from an external extinguisher engineer. All the components in the P50’s construction are non-corroding and this, together with a ten year warranty, make it an attractive proposition for the environment in which it is utilised by a recycling company.

Furthermore, Abbey Metal Recycling benefited from Safelincs’ free replacement / repair policy for all fire safety items sold by Safelincs which are utilised or damaged in a fire situation. Abbey’s P50 was therefore immediately replaced free of charge.

Cardiac Science finally brings out the new Powerheart G5 defibrillator

Cardiac Science Powerheart G5 AEDAfter about a year delay Cardiac Science finally has started delivering the new G5 defibrillator to replace, over time, the very successful G3 model. The Powerheart G3 had for a long time been the best selling of all our defibrillators.

The new G5

With an impressive 7 year warranty, Rescue Ready self-test technology and real-time CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) feedback for invaluable guidance, it’s understandable why the Powerheart G5 AED CPRD defibrillator is regarded as the next generation of defibrillation equipment.

Whether you are a healthcare professional or someone with minimal first aid training, responding to a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) can be a daunting experience. The Powerheart G5 offers ease of use as well as voice and text prompts, helping to guide and calm the rescuer throughout the defibrillation process.

Featuring an integrated sensor device, the G5 assesses the CPR performance given by the rescuer and provides real-time feedback to ensure the correct compression depth and rhythm is achieved. This innovative technology also extends to assessing the patient’s therapy needs, delivering a shock at the necessary energy level, and automatically detecting when paediatric pads are in use. This defibrillator coaches and works with you to give the victim the best chances of survival.

Defibrillators are life-saving devices and it is important that they remain in full working order at all times. To assist with this, the G5 has ‘Rescue Ready’ self check technology, performing regular tests on all main AED components including the battery, hardware, software and pads and provides visible green LED confirmation that the G5 has passed these tests.

Safelincs is committed to providing our customers with the best possible service and value for money. When purchasing the Powerheart G5 AED defibrillator, our customers will receive a FREE AED responder kit, one FREE place on a St John Ambulance defibrillator training course, as well as one set of FREE replacement pads after 2 years of purchase. To take advantage of this amazing offer, please visit our website, where you will also benefit from FREE delivery as well as a limited time special offer price!

Helpful new video about emergency lighting terms

emergency-light-exitEmergency lighting is essential in most businesses, providing an immediate secondary source of light in the event of a power failure. When selecting emergency lighting you will, however, come across confusing terms such as maintained, non-maintained and switchable emergency lights. Our short video explains the differences in an easily understood way.

Safelincs also offers other guides about emergency lighting:

Our friendly staff are always happy to help you with your emergency lighting planning.
Please email support@safelincs.co.uk