10 Things You Should Know About Fire Doors

Your Fire Door Questions Answered

Most of us will come into contact with fire doors in our daily life, either at home, at work or in public buildings. But how much do you know about fire doors and their role in saving lives? We’ve compiled a list of key fire door questions based on what customers ask our experts in our fire safety forum.

Fire doors stop fire and smoke from spreading to other parts of the building

1. Why are fire doors so important?

Fire doors are important because they keep fire or smoke in the room or ‘compartment’ in which it started. They stop it from spreading to other areas of the building. Fire doors are an integral part of any building’s passive fire protection system.

2. What do fire doors do?

Fire doors save lives and prevent further damage to the building and its contents:

  • They contain the fire in the room in which it started
  • Fire doors keep escape routes, such as corridors, clear from fire, giving occupants of the building longer to escape and better access for the fire service
  • They protect the remainder of the building, its contents and other buildings nearby from further damage.

3. How do fire doors work?

Fire doors prevent the spread of fire for a specified time. They are constructed from materials that will withstand fire for either 30 minutes or 60 minutes, depending on the fire door rating. Fire doors are fitted with intumescent strips in a groove on every edge of the door or fire door frame. When a fire breaks out, the heat causes the intumescent strips to expand to fill the gap between the fire door and the frame. This seals the room and stops the spread of fire for a given time. A fire door will only work if it is closed when the fire breaks out, so you should always ensure that your fire door is fitted with an automatic door closer and a sign that identifies the door as a fire door.

Key facts about fire doors

4. How are fire doors made?

Fire doors are usually thicker than a standard door and most have a solid core of variable material. The construction of fire doors varies depending on the manufacture. But, the critical part is that it is tested and certified to withstand fire for at least 30 minutes. Manufacturers must have the design of their fire doors and frames tested together as a set at an approved fire door testing centre. Then they must be considered for certification. When certification is approved, every fire door set constructed to the same design specifications by that manufacturer will be fixed with a label. The label identifies the manufacturer, date of manufacture and fire rating. This label can usually be found on the top edge of the door.

fire door certification labelfire door cross section detail

5. How long do fire doors last?

Fire doors and their frames are usually tested to hold back fire for 30 minutes (FD30) or 60 minutes (FD60). Their ability to withstand fire is dependent on them being properly installed with the correct seals and fire rated hardware including fire door closers. The condition of a fire door, especially one that’s in regular use could deteriorate over time. Check your fire doors regularly and ensure any fire door maintenance is attended to promptly. Fire door inspections can help to identify non-compliant fire doors. Fire doors can have a rating greater than 60 minutes but these are not required in most situations.

6. Are fire doors a legal requirement?

Fire doors are a legal requirement in all non-domestic properties, such as businesses, commercial premises, and public buildings. They are also required in residential flats and houses of multiple occupancy. As set out by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, building operators in England and Wales should appoint a ‘Responsible Person’ to manage their fire safety precautions. Their legal responsibilities include a duty to reduce the risk of fire spreading within the premises. Fire doors play an important part in reducing this risk in many buildings. These types of buildings should have a fire risk assessment carried out. Fire risk assessments are an in-depth review of the premises. They will highlight any fire risks with recommendations to reduce or eliminate these risks, including where fire doors should be used and what rating they should be.

Fire doors in schools

7. Do I need fire doors in my house or flat?

Fire rated doors can be a great way to add extra protection against fire in your home. But are they a legal requirement?

Houses and bungalows: In many homes in the UK fire doors are not a legal requirement, however there are some exceptions. Building regulations details where fire doors should be used:

  • Any new build or home renovation that has three or more floors must have fire doors fitted to every habitable room that leads from a stairwell. This applies to loft conversions where an extra floor has been added to a two-storey home.
  • Any door leading from your home into an integral garage must be a fire door. In most domestic situations, FD30 (fire doors with a 30 minute fire rating) are sufficient.

Flats and HMOs: Your block of flats should have had a fire risk assessment carried out. This will detail which doors are required to be fire doors. Building regulations Approved Document B2 sets out the following standards:

  • Every flat within a block of flats or HMO should have a fire door fitted at the entrance onto the communal area.
  • Flats located on floors 4.5m above ground level must have a fire rated door fitted between all habitable rooms as well as the front door.
  • Ground floor flats do not usually need internal fire doors as long as each room has an accessible way to escape. They do still need a fire door to be fitted at the entrance if the front door opens onto a communal area such as a corridor.

FD30 fire doors (30 minute fire door rating) should be used for flats.

fire door in flat or house

8. Can fire doors be painted?

Although fire doors must be fitted with fire rated hinges, locks and hardware, they do not need a special type of paint. You can paint fire doors using regular decorative paint or varnish without damaging their performance. Avoid using heat or chemical paint strippers if the intumescent seals are in place. Also avoid painting over any hinges, hardware or seals.

There is no need to compromise on style and decoration with fire doors. Choose from a wide range of glazing and finishing options including real wood veneer, Formica laminate or paint. Our fire doors can even be pre-painted in any RAL colour of your choice, saving time and hassle and giving a professional finish.

Fire door finishesFire door wood veneer

9. Can fire doors be left open?

Fire doors can only be left open if they are held open in a legal way, such as with a fire door retainer or a hold open free-swing door closer.

It is dangerous to ‘prop’ or ‘wedge’ open fire doors. Fire doors are fitted with self-closing devices so that if a fire breaks out, they close and will perform as intended. If a fire door is wedged open, it will not slow or stop the spread of fire. Using a fire door retainer or free-swing door closer will ensure that in the event of a fire the fire door will still automatically close, ensuring fire safety is maintained.

Fire doors can be heavy and cumbersome to operate. They can also cause accessibility issues in some buildings. Fire door retainers, like Dorgard, are a practical and legal solution to this issue. A Dorgard Fire Door Retainer can easily be fitted to an existing fire door and will hold the fire door open legally until it ‘hears’ the sound of your fire alarm. When the alarm sounds, Dorgard will release the fire door, allowing it to close, stopping the spread of fire. Fire door retainers can also help to improve ventilation.

Dorgard Fire Door Retainers
Dorgard Fire Door Retainers
  • Hold fire doors open legally
  • Wire-free plunger based door holder
  • Certified to BS EN 1155:1997 & BS EN 1634
  • Acoustically triggered at 65dB
  • FREE extended 5 year warranty
  • FREE shipping
£87.49 ex VAT
£104.99 inc VAT
Buy Now

10. Who can fit fire doors?

Fire doors must be fitted by a competent individual. You should ensure that the person fitting your fire doors has had the relevant training to do so. Whatever the rating of a fire door, if it is badly fitted, it may not withstand a fire for any more than 5 minutes. There are legal requirements and specifications as set out by building regulations governing the installation of fire doors. The gap between the fire door and frame, for example, should be between 2 and 4mm. These specifications can be difficult to meet unless installation is by someone with experience and joinery skills.

The regulations around the fitting of fire doors can be confusing. Code of Practice for Fire Door Assemblies does not specify that any particular certification is required to install a fire door. However, The Fire Safety Order states that they should be installed by a competent person. That is someone with sufficient training and experience, qualifications, and knowledge.

Using a professional fire door installer will give a Responsible Person or homeowner peace of mind that the fitting has been carried out correctly and that the fire door will perform as it should in the event of a fire.

Fire Door Installation
Fire Door Installation

For any fire doors purchased from Safelincs, we can offer a certified installation service carried out be qualified fire door installers. Fire doors should be installed correctly to ensure proper compartmentation.

  • Nationwide service carried out by certified fire door installers
  • Installation for all fire door sets & hardware purchased from Safelincs
  • Complete fire door and frame installation available
  • Experienced and knowledgeable installers
£679.00 ex VAT
£814.80 inc VAT
Buy Now

Ask a Question

Still have fire door questions? Ask an expert on our forum.

Mel Saunders

Head of Marketing

Mel joined Safelincs in 2020 and leads the content and marketing team.

Dorgard Pro – a Fire Door Retainer System for Large Premises

Fire door retainers have many benefits. They can help businesses to comply with fire door regulations, providing easy access for everyone and improving ventilation. In larger premises, maintaining a lot of individual fire door retainers could become a headache. Dorgard Pro fire door retainer system provides a solution, allowing central control of all the fire door retainers. It gives peace of mind that should a fire break out anywhere on-site, all the fire doors will automatically close.

Dorgard Pro Fire Door Retainer
Dorgard Pro Fire Door Retainer System

How does it work?

The Dorgard Pro core system is made up of a central transmitter (Fireco ProHub) and fire door retainers (Dorgard Pro). The central transmitter can be wired directly into your existing fire alarm panel. Or, if this is not an option, the Fireco ProHub can be acoustically activated. When the ProHub is activated by the fire alarm, it communicates wirelessly to every Dorgard Pro fire door retainer. The wireless signal alerts each Dorgard Pro to release, ensuring that all fire doors close automatically. The status of each Dorgard Pro is monitored by the central transmitter and it will instantly alert you to any faults or low batteries.


Dorgard Pro Fire Retainer System Components

Dorgard Pro fire door retainers are installed on existing fire doors throughout your premises. They have a carpet-friendly design and are battery powered by a 5 year ‘fit and forget’ battery. The Dorgard Pro retainers are not affected by high levels of background noise. They allow fire doors to be held open legally at any angle to improve access and ventilation throughout the building.

Dorgard Pro – a simple wireless fire door retainer system for larger buildings

Flexibility for bespoke configuration

Fireco ProHub can also be linked to the InSite cloud based remote monitoring software. This software gives you the ability to monitor the live status of the system from your mobile phone or laptop, anywhere in the world!

Typically a Fireco Prohub has a range of up to 50m, depending on the type of environment. Fireco ProExtenders can be added to give a greater range for larger buildings. This allows up to 500 Dorgard Pro retainers to be controlled in one system. In addition, should premises be extended, extra units can be added any time after the initial installation to expand the system.

For added flexibility, Freedor Pro can also be added to the system. Freedor Pro is a free swing door closer which takes the weight out of heavy fire doors and can hold doors open at any angle. In the same way as the Dorgard Pro, Freedor Pro can also be centrally controlled by the ProHub.

Is it suitable for my premises?

The Dorgard Pro system is ideal for lots of environments, including schools and universities, hospitals and care homes, manufacturing, offices, hotels and hospitality, retail and public buildings. As it is unaffected by noisy environments and can be centrally controlled, the system is very versatile. Therefore, it lends itself to large sites where monitoring of each individual fire door retainer would be time consuming and difficult to manage.

As the Dorgard Pro system works in conjunction with your existing fire alarm and fire doors, there is no need for additional disruption or equipment. The wireless communication also means that there is very little wiring, if any (depending on how you connect the ProHub to the alarm panel) involved in the installation.

Dorgard Pro can be installed with little or no wiring
Dorgard Pro can be installed with little or no wiring

How do I get a quote?

Firstly, to provide you with a quotation, an engineer needs to visit your site to carry out a survey. The survey is free of charge and means we can design a system that is suited to your environment. Next, we will provide a quotation based on your system design.

If you decide to install Dorgard Pro, our team of engineers will come to your site and fit the system. Once it’s up and running, the Dorgard Pro system requires very little maintenance. Safelincs provides an exclusive 7 year extended warranty for added peace of mind.

Book a FREE site survey now!

Get in touch now to book your free site survey or find out more. Call 0800 612 6537 or fill out our short Dorgard Pro booking form to register your interest. After receiving your form, a member of our customer service team will be in touch to arrange the survey.

Dorgard Pro
Dorgard Pro
  • Safe & legal system to hold open fire doors
  • Acoustic and wireless activation technology
  • Certified to BS EN 1155:1997
  • Safelincs EXCLUSIVE extended warranty
  • FREE site survey

Mel Saunders

Head of Marketing

Mel joined Safelincs in 2020 and leads the content and marketing team.

Carbon monoxide poisoning: What are the Symptoms?

Carbon monoxide (CO) is often referred to as ‘The Silent Killer’ because you can’t smell, hear or see it. It is a highly toxic gas which can have devastating consequences on your health. With over 4000 people attending A&E departments due to carbon monoxide poisoning in England each year, knowing the symptoms could save your life.

The Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide can cause severe symptoms and even death if not detected quickly. CO poisoning symptoms are very similar to that of a common cold or flu, which is a big reason why mild symptoms can also be mistaken for a hangover. Protect yourself and others from carbon monoxide by looking out for these symptoms:

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning

Effects of Carbon Monoxide Exposure

Severe Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Severe carbon monoxide poisoning may lead to long-term neurological problems, with disturbances in memory, language, cognition, mood and behaviour. This causes damage to the basal ganglia, which may lead to a movement disorder resembling Parkinson’s disease.

Delayed deterioration in neurological condition is an unusual feature of severe carbon monoxide poisoning. This can occur any time from a few days to as long as five to six weeks after the initial exposure to carbon monoxide. The reason for this is not entirely clear.

Long-term Carbon Monoxide Exposure

Chronic exposure to lower levels of carbon monoxide may go unrecognised. The symptoms include milder versions of those seen in acute CO poisoning. Headache, nausea, dizziness, light-headedness, fatigue and sleepiness, difficulty concentrating and memory problems, as well as changes in mood are all symptoms of this.

People are often unable to identify exactly what is the matter despite being aware that something is wrong. They may attribute the problems to overwork, stress or depression. If symptoms disappear while away at work and reappear on returning home, or if other people in the same premises develop similar symptoms, it may become more obvious that there is an environmental cause.

Removing the source of carbon monoxide results in most people recovering from chronic low-level carbon monoxide exposure. However, it can also lead to the brain being starved from oxygen. This can have devastating short term and long term effects.

Treatment for CO Poisoning

Treatment of carbon monoxide poisoning involves immediate removal of the carbon monoxide source, and administration of 100% oxygen together with general supportive medical care.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is sometimes advocated for severe cases of carbon monoxide poisoning. This involves giving your lungs much more oxygen than would be possible by breathing pure oxygen at normal air pressure. It has been suggested that this may improve the long-term neurological outcome, although it remains controversial. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a specialised technique which is only available in a few centres. It may also be associated with complications of its own and it is not used routinely.

Protect Yourself from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

  1. Be in the know about carbon monoxide. Would you be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning? Learn how to spot the dangers, signs and symptoms of CO poisoning and help to educate those around you. Findings by the Gas Safe Register in 2019 revealed that only one in five respondents said they would be aware of a carbon monoxide leak in their homes if they felt unwell.
  2. Have your gas or solid fuel appliances serviced regularly. According to the latest UK inspection figures from Gas Safe Register, 5.5 million homes in the UK have unsafe gas appliances. When did you last have your appliance checked? If you rent, your landlord must have a gas safety certificate for all gas appliances to comply with regulations.
  3. Install a carbon monoxide alarm where required. It is recommended that a CO alarm be installed in every room in the house containing an appliance that could leak carbon monoxide gas. Is your home covered? Check with vulnerable friends, family or neighbours to see if they need help installing a carbon monoxide alarm. If you rent and you have a gas appliance, your landlord is legally required to provide a working carbon monoxide alarm.

Who is Most at Risk?

Lower income households are more at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, recent studies have shown. Research carried out by the National Energy Action charity and the Gas Safety Trust found that 35% of low income and vulnerable households surveyed exceeded the 10ppm threshold for carbon monoxide levels, indicating levels of carbon monoxide that are harmful with prolonged exposure. This can have adverse effects on the body and brain.

Over 60s were also found to be particularly vulnerable to CO poisoning. This could be attributed to the likelihood of them spending more time at home and feeling the cold, resulting in regular appliance use to stay warm. Elderly people, or those with respiratory problems, are also more at risk from the effects of carbon monoxide. They become ill more quickly, with symptoms being similar to those of flu or food poisoning, a headache, nausea and dizziness. These symptoms are usually attributed to those common illnesses rather than to carbon monoxide poisoning.

Headache or dizziness is a symptom of co poisoning
Carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms can easily be mistaken for flu or a common cold or sickness bug

Other groups shown to be disproportionately affected by CO poisoning include pregnant women, young children, anyone with an existing respiratory condition and elderly people.

Carbon monoxide poisoning information sheet printable download
Download our information sheet and share with relatives or friends

Mel Saunders

Head of Marketing

Mel joined Safelincs in 2020 and leads the content and marketing team.

Working towards a greener and more sustainable future

solar panels on the office roof generate 80% of our total energy usage
1000sqm solar panels have been installed on our warehouse roof

At Safelincs, sustainability is one of our core brand values which we take very seriously. The global challenge of reducing carbon emissions is huge, but we believe that every company and individual can make a difference. That is why, at Safelincs, we aim to work towards a greener and more sustainable future by making progress on issues such as recyclable packaging, renewable energy supply, sustainable transport and waste reduction. We also encourage our staff to engage with smaller changes such as protecting our own green spaces and providing our staff with palm oil-free chocolate and fair trade coffee.

Renewable energy

Our site is powered by 100% renewable electricity and we have made use of our large warehouse roofs to install 1000sqm of solar panels which provides 60% of our total electricity usage. New dynamic heating thermostats in each office space allows staff to better regulate the temperature in their environment instead of opening doors and windows. We have just replaced our gas boilers with the latest condensing technology and invested in LED lighting throughout the site and low energy computers which helps us to reduce energy consumption.

We are excited to have recently added our first fully electric car – a Tesla 3 – to our fleet of company vehicles. The Tesla will be mainly powered from an onsite charging point during peaktime of solar PV production, making it a genuine environmental option. We hope to increase our number of electric vehicles, eventually working towards a completely ‘green’ fleet.

Our new Tesla-3, a fully electric company car
Tesla-3 – our first fully electric company car

Partnering to reduce plastic packaging

We feel strongly about reducing plastic packaging and have been working hard with suppliers to ensure that, where possible, plastic is eliminated. We encourage our partners to supply us with products packaged using cardboard. We have also largely eliminated the use of plastic packaging materials and are using almost exclusively cardboard for all packaging. Our padding materials are produced inhouse by two specialist shredding/wrinkling machines that use the cardboard received into the company.

Our packaging boxes are made from recycled card
Recycled card packing boxes in our warehouse

Waste reduction

Our staff understand the importance of recycling and re-using across our business. Any new starter is introduced to our waste management systems including our multiple recycling bins and our process regarding re-usable batteries. We aim to educate and inform employees in any environmental issues that may affect their work. For example, we work with a member of the team in charge of office supplies to ensure that any stationary items ordered only contain recycled paper. Safelincs challenges its team members to find new ways in which we can collectively work towards a more sustainable future.

Safelincs also contribute to Valpak’s WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) Distributer Take-Back Scheme. Our monetary contribution helps local authorities across the UK to increase the rate of collection, re-use and recycling of electrical equipment.

Innovation in product development

We are mindful that within the fire safety industry there are environmental challenges and are always on the look out for alternatives. For example, we promote long-lasting products such as the range of P50 fire extinguishers which only need re-filling every ten years rather than the standard 5 years. They also have an impressive 20-year lifespan and are also service-free, saving engineer travel year after year.

Our range of Water Mist Fire Extinguishers is something that we are proud of. These extinguishers are totally environmentally friendly containing 100% de-ionised water which is delivered in microscopic droplets to extinguish flames. These extinguishers are very versatile and can even be used on electrical fires. They are fully recyclable and contain no chemicals meaning that they are non-toxic to humans or wildlife. They also leave no mess or residue to clean up after use.

Every little helps!

Fair trade coffee, tea and chocolate and locally sourced fruit for the office staff.
Fair trade Staff Room supplies!

As well as working towards a sustainable future with our bigger initiatives, we also work with our staff to make smaller, more environmental changes in many areas. Our staff room is always stocked with free fruit, sourced from our local greengrocer, fair trade coffee, plastic-free tea bags and palm oil free chocolate. No one goes hungry! But, by encouraging these practices in the workplace, we hope that by leading by example, our employees will adopt some of these little environmental wins at home.

Safelincs are lucky to have green space on our site and recently staff braved the rain to plant wildflower seed which we hope will encourage bees and other insects to visit in the warmer months. Very soon, we plan to plant trees on our site to further create a natural area to be enjoyed by staff and nature!

Making the most of our green space - creating a wildflower garden
Creating a wildflower garden on site

Sustainability vs profitability

Environmental alternatives often require an upfront investment. But in the longer term this can be much more cost effective. The cost saving benefits of solar panels, LED lighting and electric cars for example will be substantial in the long run and is an investment that we think is well worth making. We are dramatically reducing our environmental footprint by introducing these measures and the long term cost savings are an added benefit.

As we move towards becoming a carbon neutral company, Safelincs strives to integrate environmental considerations into all aspects of decision making and activity. We appreciate the importance of sustainability and hope to inspire our staff and local community to join us in championing a more environmental way of operating.


Mel Saunders

Head of Marketing

Mel joined Safelincs in 2020 and leads the content and marketing team.

Are you in danger in your own home? Join the fight for a Gas Safe Nation

In light of the Covid 19 pandemic, safety is at the forefront of everyone’s mind. We all know that hand washing and basic hygiene are an essential part of life in 2020, but how many of us can be absolutely sure that our homes are gas safe? With Gas Safety Week celebrating its tenth year in 2020, it’s time to make sure that you, your friends and family are safe in your own homes.

Protect family and help them to get gas safe at home
Help loved ones and vulnerable individuals to get gas safe

Are you at risk of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

Do you have a gas fire, gas boiler or gas oven? Frighteningly, statistics published by Gas Safety Week show that 1 in 2 gas fires inspected by a Gas Safe Engineer are unsafe. Carbon Monoxide emissions from a poorly fitted, poorly ventilated or faulty gas appliance can be deadly or have severe side effects. Carbon monoxide is odourless and colourless meaning that without a detector, it is very difficult to detect its presence.

There are 2 simple steps to follow to protect yourselves, your family and friends:

  1. Have your gas appliances checked and serviced every year by a Gas Safe Engineer. You can find a gas safety engineer near you here. Check to see if loved ones and vulnerable friends or neighbours have a gas safety certificate that is up to date.
  2. Install an audible carbon monoxide alarm and make sure your friends and relatives have one too. Check that they are marked EN50291 and display the British Standards’ Kitemark. You can find a great selection here that are suitable for use at home.

Common cold or Carbon monoxide poisoning?

The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are much like those of a common cold or flu to begin with but can ultimately lead to a coma and death. Headaches, nausea, dizziness, a sore throat or dry cough are all common complaints, but could be as a result of exposure to CO gas. If friends, family or loved ones complain of these symptoms, seem confused or are drowsy and are having trouble breathing, you need to be alert. If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, open all the windows and doors and leave your home immediately. Turn off any appliances that are in use and turn the gas off at the mains if you can. Call the Gas Emergency Services on 0800 111 999 as soon as you can. You should seek medical help straight away if you think that anyone in your household has carbon monoxide poisoning.

Identify symptoms of CO poisoning

Gas safety and Covid 19

There may be some nervousness about engineers visiting your home due to the spread of infection during the current pandemic. Tradesman have strict guidelines to follow set out by the government, but if you are worried you should check what measures your Gas Safe Engineer will be putting in place when he or she visits your home. It is important to proceed with your annual check if you can as you could be putting your family in danger of carbon monoxide poisoning. With some Covid 19 restrictions still in place, and many people working remotely, we are all spending more time at home. It is now as important as ever to make your home a safe place for you and your family.

Good carbon monoxide detector to use at home
Digital Display Carbon Monoxide Alarm 10 Yr Life – Kidde 5DCO

Protect loved ones with a carbon monoxide detector

If you have vulnerable or elderly friends, relatives or neighbours, why not give them peace of mind and help them to install a carbon monoxide detector? Carbon monoxide can travel through adjoining walls and so even if you are absolutely sure that all the appliances in your home are gas safe, a detector is the only way to have complete peace of mind. Many detectors have a long life and so remain reliable for long periods and with options for audio and visual cues, there is an alarm suitable for everyone. All of our Kidde battery-operated alarms are available for FREE delivery, so you can have them delivered directly to loved ones for no extra cost and with free standing options available and the battery included on many models, they can be up and running immediately on arrival. Why not browse the range here?

Gas Safety Week challenges us all to think about making our homes as safe from the dangers of gas as possible. For more information and advice, head to the gas safety week website. Or, for more information on CO alarms, please contact our customer care team on 0800 612 6537.

Mel Saunders

Head of Marketing

Mel joined Safelincs in 2020 and leads the content and marketing team.

Is Your Holiday Home Protected From The ‘Silent Killer’? Carbon Monoxide Responsibilities For Accommodation Providers

When someone books a holiday, what features do they look for? Maybe a hot tub, fire pit or log burner for that little bit of luxury? A carbon monoxide detector might not be top of the list, but with carbon monoxide (CO), or the ‘Silent Killer’ responsible for around 60 accidental deaths every year in England and Wales, ensuring your holiday accommodation is CO safe should be a priority. Did you know that as a holiday home owner in England, you have a legal responsibility to comply with regulations relating to carbon monoxide safety? Holiday-makers want to have peace of mind that their safety is a top priority when booking a holiday, and carbon monoxide safety is no exception.

Why is carbon monoxide dangerous?

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a highly poisonous gas with no smell or taste and can be difficult to detect without the aid of a carbon monoxide detector. Symptoms such as tiredness, shortness of breath, nausea and headaches can be easily mistaken for flu or food poisoning. However, after exposure to high levels for 2 hours, the person may become unconscious and could die from this poisonous gas. With such sudden consequences, early detection is critical.

Accommodation providers: Your responsibilities

CO gas is produced by the incomplete burning of fuels containing carbon, for example coal, wood, gas or charcoal. A build-up in emissions of CO gas can come from:
• Faulty gas appliances
• Fuel burning stoves, open fires or BBQs used in poorly ventilated areas
• Running a car engine in an enclosed space.

Holiday Home Owners, like landlords, have a responsibility to ensure that their properties are compliant with the regulations Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015. These regulations state that a carbon monoxide detector should be fitted in any room that has a solid fuel burning appliance such as a log burner or open fire. Whilst not a legal requirement, it is also advisable to install a detector in any room with a gas or oil burning appliance such as a boiler or oven. You should also check and log all smoke and CO alarms on change-over day for added peace on mind.

The maintenance of gas appliances in all properties is also of paramount importance. The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 outlines the legal duties of self-catering accommodation providers to ensure the safety of any guests. All gas appliances should be installed and checked annually by a Gas Safe Engineer. Accommodation providers need to ensure adequate ventilation throughout the holiday accommodation. This is of particular importance in caravans, lodges and tents or glamping pods.

Provide information for your tenants

With frequent change-over of tenants and short-term occupancy, it may also help to provide a factsheet with guidance on carbon monoxide safety. Information such as how to locate and turn off the mains gas supply, what to do if the carbon monoxide alarm goes off or who to contact in an emergency may prove invaluable. Some tenants will be unfamiliar with gas appliances and general advice on how to use them safely could be useful.

Furthermore, unlike some smoke alarms that are prone to false triggers, a CO alarm is very unlikely to go off unless it detects carbon monoxide. False alarms are very unlikely and residents should be advised to act immediately and assume it is an emergency situation. Many people are not aware of the CO emissions from BBQs and camp fires. Cosy fires and family BBQs can prove deadly if emissions are allowed to accumulate in a tent, glamping pod or caravan. Campsites or caravan sites are advised to alert campers to the possible dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning from these activities.

Confidence in the UK holiday market

With the trend in UK ‘staycations’ looking set to continue into next year, ensuring the safety of guests in all accommodation will only help to increase confidence in UK holidays. Families should have peace of mind that their safety is of the utmost importance. There are many options for carbon monoxide alarms including combined or separate smoke and CO alarms, audible and visual cues and fixed or portable units. The requirement of each accommodation type varies depending on size, risks and structure.

The Kidde 7DCO alarm is a great solution for most providers as it is Kitemarked as safe for use in all domestic situations as well as in caravans, boats and tents. Its 10-year lifespan, digital display and option for free-standing or wall-mounting makes it a reliable and flexible option. And, with readings taken every 15 seconds and displayed on the digital panel, guests would have complete peace of mind that they are protected from the ‘silent killer’.

A suitable carbon monoxide alarm
Digital Display Carbon Monoxide Alarm 10 Yr Warranty – Kidde 7DCO

If you are an accommodation provider and would like more information, please contact our customer care team on 0800 612 6537.

Mel Saunders

Head of Marketing

Mel joined Safelincs in 2020 and leads the content and marketing team.

Maintained or Non-Maintained Emergency Lighting?

The use of maintained or non-maintained emergency lighting should be decided based upon building type, its occupants and purpose or usage.

What is the difference between maintained and non-maintained emergency lights?

Maintained Lights

Maintained emergency lighting is on at all times. Maintained emergency lights are mains powered and used as part of the normal room lighting system. But, in an emergency situation when mains power fails, it will continue to stay lit for a specific duration powered by a back-up battery. It is generally used in non-residential places of public assembly such as leisure centres, cinemas, shopping centres etc. In public venues where the normal lighting system is often dimmed, for example cinemas, theatres or bars, maintained luminaries are always required.

Maintained lighting could include lit fire exit signs, bulkhead lighting or recessed downlights. There are LED options available which will reduce energy consumption and therefore running cost.

Non-maintained Lights

Non-maintained lighting usually only comes on for a specific duration when the power supply to normal artificial lighting fails. Non-maintained emergency lights are normally suitable for workplaces which are usually lit when occupied. Non-maintained light fittings are powered by a battery that is charged from a constant trickle of mains power. This battery should have enough charge to remain lit for a duration of 3 hours or more if mains power fails.

Illuminated fire exit sign next to a door

Which type of emergency lighting do I need?

British Standards guidelines 5266-1:2011 requires adequate emergency lighting to be installed in all high occupancy residential, public or commercial buildings. There are often more specific recommendations given by local authorities in each area.

Whether maintained or non-maintained emergency lighting is needed is largely a question for fire risk assessors based on each individual circumstance. If non-maintained lighting is deemed sufficient, it is also worth considering the reduced environmental impact and lower energy cost of using non-maintained lighting over time.

Watch our video to learn the difference between maintained and non-maintained emergency lighting

Can an emergency light fitting be both maintained AND non-maintained?

Yes. Maintained emergency light fittings or signs used as part of a normal room lighting system can also be wired to perform as a non-maintained fitting if required. Many maintained fittings are available as switchable units, meaning they can be switched between maintained and non-maintained modes using an ordinary light switch. Non-maintained light fittings cannot be wired for use in maintained operation.

Still unsure which type is most suitable?

If you are unsure which emergency lighting is best for your environment, it is best practice to conduct a fire risk assessment. A risk assessor will advise the most suitable option in line with the regulations.

Help guides

More information about all aspects of emergency lighting can be found in our emergency lighting guides.

British Standards

There are various British Standards that set out the regulations for emergency lighting where further guidance can be sought:

  • BS5266-1 Code of practice for emergency lighting of premises sets out general guidance on what emergency lighting should be provided in each environment
  • BS EN 50172 / BS 5266-8 Emergency escape lighting systems details minimum emergency lighting provision and testing for each type of environment

Mel Saunders

Head of Marketing

Mel joined Safelincs in 2020 and leads the content and marketing team.