The 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.
“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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
Safelincs have been honoured for outstanding achievement at the annual Government Opportunities (GO) magazine Excellence in Public Procurement Awards, part of National Public Procurement Practitioners Day (N3PD) 2009.
The company was presented with the Highly Commended Award in the GO Best Small Business or Third Sector Service Provider Award category for the companies approach to its clients and also for its relationship with the buyer
Accepting the Award, Harald Dewick-Eisele, Managing Director of Safelincs, said “It feels very rewarding to receive this Award. We won a European tender by Kirklees Metropolitan Borough Council to supply all of Kirklees with CO monitor alarms. We offered substantially more than was directly required, we created a specific carbon monoxide detector for Kirklees with 50% longer warranty than required and at a very good price. Plus we were able to deal with all the customer’s demands.”
The prestigious GO Awards ceremony, held on Thursday 4 June 2009 at the Institution of Civil Engineers, One Great George Street, London, also featured high-profile speakers Chairman of the Audit Commission Michael O’Higgins and Chief Executive of the Office of Government Commerce (OGC), Nigel Smith.