Legally holding fire doors open can improve mental health of the elderly

Dorgard in Care HomesCare homes have a legal obligation to make sure that they adhere to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, ensuring the safety of their residents and to prevent the spread of fire. One of the measures that care homes must implement is the compartmentalisation of areas, installing fire doors to prevent a fire from raging through a building, trapping vulnerable people inside.

Fire doors, however, are heavy and fitted with an automatic closing device to ensure that the door is closed should a fire break out. Whilst an absolute necessity in ensuring that vulnerable residents are protected from a fire, fire doors can pose a hindrance when it comes to the mobility of residents, which can in turn impact on the mental wellbeing and general health of individuals. The Mental Health Foundation state in their booklet ‘How to look after mental health in later life‘ that physical activity and exercise can boost self-esteem and confidence as well as promote good sleep.

Research and studies have shown that promoting mobility of the elderly and facilitating their control over the decisions they make have a positive impact on their self-esteem, which in turn can influence mental health as well as general health. Something as simple as improving the independent mobility of residents within the care setting can have a big impact. With the number of people over the age of 85 doubling in the last three years (Making health care systems fit ageing population) promoting the physical and mental wellbeing of our ageing population is a must. How then can care homes achieve this and still adhere to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005?

Installing a fire door retainer, such as the Dorgard or Freedor, on a fire door will ensure that the heavy and cumbersome fire door is held open allowing free movement of residents. Dorgard and Freedor listen for the sound of the fire alarm and on hearing the alarm, the unit will activate enabling the fire door to close, ensuring that the spread of fire is hindered as far as possible.

The Dorgard is fitted to the bottom of the fire door and works in tandem with your fire door closer.  The rubber foot is pushed down on to the floor, keeping the door open at any angle. In the event of a fire the Dorgard will react to the sound of the fire alarm and automatically lift the rubber foot. The door closer fitted to the top of the door can then do its job and close the fire door firmly into the door frame, compartmentalising the area.

Freedor is a wireless free-swing door closer. This device, in essence, takes the weight out of your fire door, enabling the fire door to stand open at any angle and react in the way a standard door does when pushed. There is no need to install a door closer along with this unit. On hearing the sound of the alarm system, the Freedor will switch on its integrated door closer and shut the fire door.

Fitting Dorgards or Freedors to your fire doors is of great benefit to both caring staff and residents. Enquire today and make that change.

Finding a solution to cumbersome heavy fire doors

Dorgard-Main-PictureBusinesses, schools, hospitals and restaurants all have something in common – how to meet the needs of customers and staff while staying compliant with fire safety regulations. Cumbersome heavy fire doors fitted with a door closer ensure the safety of occupants and prevent the spread of fire but they cause issues for those moving from one area to another, especially when carrying heavy objects or for someone with impaired mobility.

Portland Youth Christian Outreach (PYCO), a small charitable organisation working with young people on the Isle of Portland, Dorset carried out their fire risk assessment and found that staff were wedging fire doors open to enable easy movement for staff and users and to enable staff to monitor activity in rooms. These wedges rendered the fire doors inoperative and could have led to serious prosecution for breach of fire safety related laws. Operations Manager at the centre, Zach  Williams said “Fire doors were often left wedged open as this was the only way that users could freely move around the centre and that staff could easily monitor what was happening in other rooms.”

The two main aims for the centre were to adhere to fire safety regulations and to maintain the free movement and monitoring possibility within the centre. It was identified that the Dorgard, a wireless fire door holder that is fitted to the bottom of your fire door would achieve these requirements. The Dorgard permanently holds fire doors open in the desired position. It then listens for the sound of a fire alarm and, on hearing it, lifts the plunger and allows the door closer to close the fire door. This prevents the spread of fire and smoke and gives protection to people within the building. Zach commented that “Fire doors make a real difference in protecting property, so these devices have made a great improvement to the safety of our building and all users. It allows both staff and volunteers to move around the centre with ease, without placing anyone, or the property at risk.”

Dorgard  is easily installed within 5 five minutes and, as it is battery operated, can be installed by almost anyone. This cost effective device helps with the flow of air within a building too, especially in the hot summer months.

Please view the Dorgard for more information or call 0800 612 6537. Watch this video to see how easy Dorgard is to install.

Equal Fire Protection for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

deafgardRaising the alarm for deaf people in the event of a fire is not something that those unaffected by the issue would ordinarily consider. However, the specific problem of alerting anyone affected by deafness poses an obvious challenge that is beyond the capabilities of standard smoke alarms.

It is Deafblind Awareness Week, Monday the 22nd to Friday the 26th of June, and we are drawing the attention of businesses to some of the innovative solutions available to combat this specific issue.

Deafness poses a fundamental problem for standard smoke alarm systems because they are designed to raise an audible alarm in the event of a fire. If you have ever been in a large public building when a fire alarm system has been triggered, you may very well have noticed that the alarms were supplemented by strobe beacons. These are an additional feature that can be installed to alert anyone unable to hear the alarms, and are becoming commonplace in fire alarm systems covering public buildings.

Strobes are an effective way of adding a visual alert to a mainly audio driven system, but they rely completely on deaf or hard of hearing individuals noticing the lights. In a hotel or guest house the weakness is obvious as a strobe light is unlikely to wake a sleeping person. Indeed such buildings may only have audible alarms fitted.

That’s where the Deafgard from Fireco and the Ei175 system from Ei Electronics come into their own. Both of these systems feature a vibrating pad that is triggered in the event of a smoke alarm going off. These are designed to be placed under pillows and wake users in the event of a fire.

An Ei175 system is connected to and triggered by a smoke alarm and features a strobe light built in to the hardware. Up to 12 devices can be linked to this unit, allowing coverage to be extended across an entire building. It is also possible to integrate further strobes to give additional visual indicators. A wireless version is also available to reduce the installation costs.

Deafgards work on a different principle, in that they are wire-free and sound activated. When an alarm goes off within audible range of the unit, the Deafgard ‘hears’ the alarm and the vibration pad as well as the small strobe in the Deafgard are engaged. This has the obvious advantage that Deafgards are portable and can be used in multiple locations. This makes them a popular choice for hotels and guest houses looking to provide protection for deaf or hard of hearing guests, as well as deaf individuals that travel extensively.

These inventive solutions exist to ensure everyone is afforded an equal level of protection when a fire is detected. For further information or assistance, please contact our customer service team at support@safelincs.co.uk or ring us on 0800 612 6537.

Dorgard retainers hold open fire doors safely in educational premises

University of London College HallWithin schools, colleges and other education buildings there are always a lot of people moving around, especially at the start of lectures or break times. Often they are laden down with books and files and opening fire doors along the route, from one part of the building to another, can be a big problem. The issue of opening heavy fire doors also impacts on the independent mobility of disabled students.

In situations like this, some people will find a ‘solution’, like wedging a fire door open or using an extinguisher to hold the door open. They may not be aware that this action puts them and everyone else in the building in danger and that it is in fact illegal. Buildings like schools and colleges are compartmentalised to prevent the spread of fire through the building, gaining valuable time to escape. Fire doors are part of this compartmentalisation system and by wedging them open they are rendered inactive and will not be able to offer the protection they were designed for. Wedging fire doors open is therefore a serious a breach of fire safety legislation and could lead to the head of the college, school or university being prosecuted, fined or even imprisoned.

The Dorgard fire door retainer offers here a safe and legal solution. It is a fire door holder that once fitted to the door, will hold it open in any position chosen. It then ‘listens’ for the fire alarm and on hearing it will release the door and allows it to close automatically. It offers free access without compromising fire safety. The installation of a Dorgard takes less than 10 minutes and can be carried out by any DIY person.

Dorgard can offer you a cost effective solution to legally hold your fire doors open too. University of London’s College Hall have already made the switch and are enjoying greater access throughout their building with the peace of mind that safety is still paramount and that their fire doors will close in the event of a fire.

“The Dorgard offers a low energy automatic door solution that proved to be the most cost effective way of improving access and independence for wheelchair users.” University of London’s College Hall

Improve access in workplaces with Dorgard

dorgardThe Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 ensures that all employees are safe in their place of work. However, thousands of businesses breach this legislation by wedging fire doors open.

Moving from one office to another with arms full of files or boxes can be cumbersome when you have to open a heavy fire door along the route. Wedging fire doors open is a breach of the legislation, it is dangerous and could lead to the employer being prosecuted, fined or even imprisoned. However, this illegal practice is common within offices and other places of work. Supermarket giant, Tesco, were prosecuted and fined £95,000 and ordered to pay costs of £24,321 due to fire doors being wedged open and failure to keep escape routes clear*.

The solution is a device called Dorgard that once fitted to your fire door, will hold the door open legally, allowing free access to all areas of your place of work, without compromising fire safety. It is a battery powered unit that ‘listens’ for the fire alarm. On hearing it, the Dorgard releases the fire door and allows it to close automatically.

Dorgard-Door-Open“They [Dorgards] keep the doors open for us as we have patients walking through most of the day. For the elderly especially, Dorgard makes it easy so they don’t have to struggle through the doors. When we test the fire alarm they kick in straight away and automatically close so we know they’ll close if there is a fire. I would recommend Dorgard, I’m glad we have them.”
Surgery Manager

In the UK over 500,000 Dorgards have already been fitted and are helping to protect lives.

*http://www.london-fire.gov.uk/news/NewsReleases2010_PR1345.asp#.VK_jTHs9bew

Fire door closers – how to improve ease of movement within care homes

Freedor Fire Door CloserFor those confined to care homes moving freely within the immediate environment is essential for their well-being and self-esteem. However, fire regulations require that fire doors, such as they are installed in gangways and often in bedrooms, are kept closed to prevent the spread of smoke and flames in the event of a fire. The hydraulic door closers, usually installed for this purpose, make the fire doors difficult to open for the elderly and those who require walking aids. Installing a normal fire door retainer to hold the fire door open against the pressure of a traditional door closer does not fully address this problem, as it still requires the fire door to be opened in the first place before it can be retained in the open position.
This is why Free-Swing fire door closers are required. They allow the user to open and close the fire door like any other door – without any resistance. The door can also be left open in any desired position. If the fire alarm goes off the fire door will, of course, close and the occupants of the building are protected against the spread of fire and smoke.

Some of Safelincs’ free-swing door closers require wiring into the fire alarm panel to ensure the door shutting is closing the door when a fire is detected. Our Freedor free-swing door closer, on the other hand, does not require any wiring at all. Similar to the well known Dorgard manufactured by the same UK company, the Freedor ‘listens’ for the sound of an alarm system and will close the fire door, as soon as the acoustic signal is received. The Freedor unit is battery powered and is also suitable for retro-fitting on existing fire doors.

Harry Dewick-Eisele, Managing Director, Safelincs explains, “The Freedor overcomes the need to install a door closer as well as a retainer. It is fitted in the same position as a traditional fire door closer and deals with the entire issue of the safe opening and closing of fire doors. It is a huge improvement for care homes but also children centres and other public spaces where traditional door closers can lead to difficulties for users.”

If you require any further information call 0800 612 6537 where there are experts on hand to offer advice.

Keeping a fire door open legally….and safely

Dorgard Fire Door RetainersFire safety company Safelincs operates a website www.firescout.co.uk that invites visitors to submit photographs of any potentially dangerous situations they have spotted. All entries are anonymous, the idea being to educate rather than ‘name and shame’. Safelincs then offers advice as to whether the situation could incur a fine and how much, if anything, it would cost to remedy the situation.
A common misdemeanour is to prop open a fire door, sometimes with a fire extinguisher – a double transgression!

Fire doors are an essential part of the fabric of a building and have two important functions in the event of a fire; when closed they form a barrier to stop the spread of fire or smoke and when opened they provide a means of escape. They are designed to be kept closed except when people are passing through them. In some businesses, and in places such as care homes or schools, closed fire doors can act as a hindrance to general mobility and moving around to perform essential tasks. However, there is a way in which the situation can be overcome without compromising safety or breaking the law.

Safelincs provide a number of products manufactured by specialist manufacturer Fireco which allow fire doors to be kept open legally and safely. Each of these products works by responding to the sound (anything above 65 decibels) of smoke or fire alarms; the mechanism holding the door open is released and the door closer on the fire door closes it to prevent the spread of fire and smoke around the building.

Dorgard, the first innovative product Fireco, is a wireless appliance that can be screwed the base of a door in less than five minutes. The standalone device will then hold the door open at any angle allowing freedom of access throughout the building. Utilising acoustic technology, Dorgard ‘listens’ for a continuous alarm of 65dBA or higher which, once heard, will automatically release the door. Dorgard is available in a variety of colours and finishes which will blend in with any décor.

Fireco also produces System X which extends the versatility of Dorgard by linking several different devices and by overcoming the issue of noisy workplaces. A transmitter is wirelessly installed next to a fire alarm sounder or hardwired into the fire alarm system. In the event of a fire, System X will wirelessly transmit simultaneously to multiple Dorgard X or Deafgard X units within a 100 metre range. Safelincs will visit an organisation’s premises and undertake a free survey and make recommendations for siting an effective system.

The latest product from Fireco is Freedor, a unique wire free solution that allows a door to free-swing just like a normal door and to be held open at any angle – automatically closing the door in a controlled manner when a fire alarm sounds. It utilises the same technology that is employed in Dorgard but is fixed unobtrusively to the top of the door. Using Freedor allows freedom of access throughout the building for disabled people and people less able to operate the doors, and assists businesses complying with the Equality Act 2010. The purchase price includes the installation through a professional installer.

All these products have applications in a wide variety of environments and allow easy movement through a building without compromising safety or contravening fire safety regulations.
To find out more about the Fireco range go to www.safelincs.co.uk and follow the link to Fire Door and Exit Equipment or call 0800 612 6537 where there are friendly experts on hand to offer advice.

One stop fire safety shop

When Stanbridge Associates, a Lincoln-based firm of accountants, specialising in the medical profession, moved to newly renovated premises in the city they needed to be sure that the premises were fulfilling all fire safety regulations.

The building, a Victorian office conversion, was visited by a fire risk assessor from Safelincs who carried out the full fire risk assessment. Safelincs also surveyed the fire extinguisher arrangements, carried out a fire alarm system test and made recommendations for improvements to suit the way the building would be used.

To allow for better wheelchair access, ventilation and all-round convenience without jeopardising safety or breaking the law, fire door retainers were fitted. These allow fire doors to be kept open safely, while automatically closing them in the event of a fire.

The existing fire extinguishers were replaced with P50 service free extinguishers which will save Stanbridge Associates the annual cost of servicing since they have been designed so that a simple visual inspection once a year is all that is required. This can be easily carried out by one of Stanbridge’s employees and the Safelincs engineer trained staff in this simple process at the time of installation. P50 extinguishers also do not require a refill after five years and can be refurbished after ten years to last a further ten years.

Safelincs put in place the necessary fire safety signs and, as a final touch, handed over a free emergency lighting test key, which means that Stanbridge will be able to test the emergency lighting system themselves in future without needing to call out an external engineer.

“Safelincs provided us with a ‘one stop shop’ to enable us to meet all our fire safety requirements when we moved into our new offices,” said Catherine Cullen, Account Manager, Stanbridge Associates. “Their professional, friendly approach not only completed the work on time but also saved us money.”

Safelincs Increases German Distribution of Dorgard

dorgard-fire-door-retainerThe Dorgard, a retrofit fire door retainer to allow fire doors to be held open safely, has long been a success in the UK. Well over 400000 units have been sold and have contributed to making UK businesses safer.

The European continent has also featured for many years in the expansion plan of the Dorgard, which is manufactured in the UK. Safelincs achieved Austrian TÜV certification in 2008, Italian certification in 2009 and became sole distributor for Germany, Austria and Italy in 2008/9.

With the introduction of a harmonised European standard for fire door retainers, the sales in Germany increased significantly. A further increase in customer awareness was achieved this year, when Gloria Germany started to sell the Dorgard through all its servicing centers and engineers.

gloria-logoGloria is Germany’s most prestigious fire safety brand. The logistics of the Dorgard sales from Gloria are handled by Safelincs through its Frankfurt based warehouse.

New Adapter Plate to Allow Dorgard to be Fitted to Steel Doors

The Dorgard fire door retainer has traditionally been suitable for use on wooden doors only.  The fixing screws supplied with the Dorgard did not allow for installation on steel doors – an application growing in popularity.  With the increase in steel door installations, it was evident that an adapter was needed to cater for this requirement.

Working with Fireco, the manufacturers, Safelincs now offer the new self-adhesive adapter plate, which allows for the Dorgard fire door retainer to be installed on a steel door.  The adapter is fitted quickly and easily and the Dorgard can be removed for maintenance purposes from the plate even after the install. The adapter plate is supplied with a chemical cleaning cloth to prepare the door’s surface and clear instructions for the installation.

Using the Dorgard fitting template as a guide, this allows for the installer to mark out the necessary position of the plate.  Once marked, the plate can be secured to the steel door using the self adhesive sticker pads. The Dorgard can then be fixed to the adapter plate using the fixing screws provided.

The adapter plate for steel doors can also be used with the wood effect Dorgard fire door retainers, as well as the metal cover finishes.