Freedor free swing door closers – a case study

Freedor Free-Swing Door CloserFirefighters were recently called to tackle a blaze at Charlton House residential care home in Plymouth. The fire was promptly dealt with by two fire appliances whose job was made easier by the fact the fire had been contained to one room. The bedrooms of the home had Freedor free swing fire door closers fitted, which closed automatically as soon as the fire broke out.

Taylia Cryan, the Manager at Charlton House commented “The fire was a frightening experience, but thankfully we had the correct measures in place so damage to the home was minimal, no one was hurt and no one had to move out. It was great to see my staff do what I had trained them to do and all the equipment we have installed work perfectly. We use Freedor as the residents couldn’t cope with the heavy doors but I hadn’t realised how important they were until the day of the fire.”

Representing our supplier, Tom Welland, Compliance Manager at Fireco says “This fire is a great example of risk assessment in action. You can reduce the risk of fire by having great precautions and well trained staff but unfortunately you cannot remove the risk entirely. Accidents happen but processes don’t, the home had put effort into ensuring that when the time came the staff and equipment did what was required of them. This meant the difference between losing a room and no casualties to losing an entire home, a business and injuries. We put the same amount of effort into making our products so people can rely on us. Had the fire doors been wedged open the outcome could have been catastrophic.”

Freedor is a unique free swing device that is fitted to the top of fire doors, which allows users to hold their fire doors open at any angle. Freedor listens out for a fire alarm and once the alarm is sounding, Freedor closes the door, preventing the spread of fire and smoke throughout the building. Freedor enables greater ease of access as it does not create the resistance of normal door closers and can be used in any setting such as nursing homes, offices, schools and restaurants. Freedors are easy to retrofit, as they do not require any wiring.

Making sure businesses are ready to face a fire is vital. Charlton House had the appropriate training and had put in place the right equipment which made a huge difference and potentially saved lives and jobs.

For further information visit our Freedor page or ring 0800 612 6537 and we will be happy to help. The installation of the Freedor is included in our pricing.

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.

Fire Door Safety Week – 16 -21 September

Fire doors save lives and property. Fire Door Safety Week is all about raising awareness of this critical element of fire safety in every commercial, public and multiple occupancy building. The British Woodworking Federation, with a number of industry partners has created Fire Door Safety Week to:

raise awareness of the critical role of fire doors, drawing attention to specific issues such as poor installation and maintenance.

  • encourage building owners and users to check the operation and condition of their fire doors and to report those that aren’t satisfactory.
  • engage and educate people, helping with the whole building industry and every property owner to understand the correct specification, supply, installation, operation, inspection and maintenance of fire doors.

Safelincs supports this campaign and offers information about fire doors. Safelincs also offers a range of standard (FD30 – 30 minute) fire doors which are available in the most common sizes, styles and colours including 4 panel, 6 panel and glazed with a variety of shapes of pane.

In addition we can supply custom built fire doors to your particular specification. Our simple online system allows you to easily configure and order a custom FD30 fire door within minutes. You can choose it with or without frame with your specified features including veneer, design and glazing options.

All standard fire doors have a delivery lead time of 7-10 working days from the date of order. Customised made-to measure doors have a delivery lead time of 1-3 weeks.

Safelincs also provide a range of associated products including fire door closers, fire door seals and hinges.

It is illegal to wedge open fire doors but with Dorgard it is possible to hold fire doors open legally to make access to rooms easier. These fire door retainers will hold a door open but immediately a smoke alarm sounds the sonic waves trigger the release mechanism allowing the door to close.

The importance of fire door closers

Fire safety equipment is essential for homes and businesses alike to first detect the fire and then to safely evacuate the building and minimise the damage caused by the fire. The best known fire safety products are familiar pieces of equipment such as fire extinguishers and smoke alarms, however, fire doors also play an important role in stopping the spread of fire. When closed, fire doors will stop the spread of smoke and flames for a significant amount of time (usually 30 minutes), helping people inside the building to evacuate safely.

In order for fire doors to function properly, they should remain closed between using the door. As obvious as this sounds, in a busy office building it can be difficult to ensure that fire doors are being closed. Therefore automatic fire door closers are installed to ensure that, after a door is opened, it naturally returns to a closed position where it can offer the maximum fire safety.

Door closers work by using the energy built-up when opening the door, to close it. There are a number of different types of fire door closers, some of which are even concealed within the doors themselves. Some also have additional features that can enable the doors to be held safely in an open position to allow easier access for people with disabilities. This is particularly useful in buildings where there is a lot of foot traffic. In the case of a fire the fire alarm will trigger these hold-open devices and allow the door closer to close the door.

Fire door closers are selected by closing strength which relates to the weight of the door. The configuration of the door closers will also depend from the design of the door (inward/outward closing) etc. If in doubt contact our friendly customer support line.

Why fire doors are so important

A fire door is one of the most important fire safety products on your premises. It will prevent the fire or smoke from spreading across the building and keep the fire contained to a particular compartment or room, giving occupants longer to escape and the fire service longer to rescue anyone who is trapped and put out the fire. They will also prevent more of your building and property from being lost to the fire than necessary.

The fire door can only be effective if it is installed with a fire door closer. As the name suggests, the closer ensures that the door closes automatically once it has been opened and needs to be able to handle different weights of door. We have a range of different door closers available, including all the leading brands such as GEZE and Briton. We also have concealed door closers, which are ideal if you feel an overhead closer would be unsightly or out of keeping with the building. These are also good for reducing vandalism, as most of the fixture is hidden out of sight.

Although fire doors should always be closed, sometimes this can be inconvenient or difficult to manage for customers with buggies or wheelchairs. Wedging a door open, usually with a fire extinguisher or door wedge, is extremely unsafe and illegal. Instead consider installing Dorgard fire door retainers, which will hold the door open legally and also release the fire door in the event of the fire alarm sounding. Ensuring maximum access and safety at the same time.

Retrofitting or replacing fire door seals

Following a fire risk assessment, doors are sometimes re-designated as fire doors if the door and frame are substantial enough for a door to be justifiably counted as a nominal fire door. The same applies to older fire doors which do not follow the latest specifications. In these cases fire door seals are retrofitted. To avoid having to cut a rebate in either the door or the frame, surface mounted fire door seals can be fitted. These are stuck to the frame or door with their self-adhesive backing and sometimes nailed as well to give them increased longevity.

Where a fire door rebate already exists or the existing rebated fire door seal has been damage, rebated intumescent fire door seals can be fitted.

All our fire door seals are fire and smoke seals. This means that they contain intumescent that swells if a fire breaks out and seals the gap around the fire door. They also contain a brush-type smoke seal to stop smoke travelling through the gap. There are some applications where a gap should not be smoke proved: eg if the fire door has been installed on the exit of a room which has no smoke detectors on its own. In this case the fire alarm system can only be triggered if smoke can leak out around the fire door and set off the fire alarm system in the circulation spaces. But these cases are quite rare.

Fire door seals are fitted on three sides of a fire door with the gap underneath the door not being covered.

If new fire door seals are fitted for the first time, make sure that fire door hinges, fire door closers and where necessary intumescent door lock protection are fitted as well.