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.

Donation opens doors

wheelchair-accessAlford Corn Exchange Community Group, a charity supported by Safelincs, took over the running of Alford’s historic Corn Exchange in April 2014. The building is a Town Hall and home to many groups and events. East Lindsey District Council, who had planned to close and sell off the building, handed the building to the group, leaving them with the responsibility of raising enough money to cover the running costs and to make improvements to the building.

To increase income the charity started to offer packages for weddings, funerals and parties. However, fire doors became a problem when events became larger in scope and visitor numbers. The building is fitted with heavy internal fire doors that close with force when you let go of the handle. Carrying food and drinks from the kitchen to the main hall was a real problem, as volunteers had to negate two heavy fire doors into the main hall.

Safelincs was contacted by Vice Chair Janet Taylor to see if there was anything that Safelincs could do to help. It was quickly identified that fitting Freedor, a wireless free-swing door closer that acts as door holder and closer in one, would resolve the issues at the Corn Exchange. Freedor is fitted to the top of the door in the same location as a normal overhead door closer and will allow your fire door to swing freely as any normal door.

The Freedor unit listens for the fire alarm and on hearing it it will automatically close the door and stop the spread of fire and smoke.

The Freedor ensures that occupants have free access to all areas of the building whilst staying compliant with fire safety regulations. The free swing action also enables people with impaired mobility to move from one room to another without difficulty.

Safelincs decided to support the great efforts of the charity and donated two Freedor units as well as the installation. Janet Taylor said “I would like to say what a difference the new door closers, that your company have generously donated and installed, have made to me and other volunteers who are working and serving food at the functions we are now having in the Corn Exchange.” She went on to mention that “Before it was never easy carrying trays etc into the main hall. I am sure that other caterers who hire our facilities will also appreciate what you have done.”

For more information about Freedor and other free-swing door closers visit https://www.safelincs.co.uk/free-swing-door-closers/

Hospitals can have free-swing fire doors and stay compliant

freedorThe Royal Liverpool University Hospital is a large hospital in the city of Liverpool. It has the countries biggest emergency department and is home to more than 40 wards and 710 beds. It is no wonder that a hospital on this scale found difficulties navigating patients on beds and in wheel chairs through their fire doors fitted with door closers. Mike Farrell, Fire Safety Advisor at the hospital said “Day-to-day, the staff at the hospital are constantly walking through entrances with trolleys and pushing beds so they need easy access. We found that doors were being wedged open as they are very heavy and difficult to get through.”

Although the wedging open of the fire doors may have made it easier for staff to negate the problematic fire doors it introduced a serious issue. Wedging a fire door open is illegal and puts lives at risk. A closed fire door prevents the spread of fire and protects staff and patients within the hospital. If the fire door cannot close in case of a fire, smoke and fire will spread through the building. Mike Farrell wanted to find a solution that would enable his staff to transport patients easily from one department to another and still comply with the fire safety regulations.

Freedor, a wireless free-swing door closer, offered Mike just the solution he was looking for. Fitted to the top of the door instead of the ordinary fire door closer, Freedor allows the fire door to be pushed open with ease. The door can also be left open at any angle. The device listens for the fire alarm and on hearing the alarm will automatically close the fire door, giving the required protection from the spread of fire. Mike commented “Following a trial, our staff were so pleased that we had Freedors installed on the entrance to the ward. It’s a financially viable option being cost effective as the product is wireless. It has made life so much easier for all our staff, they have easier access and it requires minimal effort to open and close the doors when they need to. We are now looking at purchasing more in the future.”

If you would like more information or advice on Freedor please contact Safelincs Ltd on 0800 612 6537 or send an email to support@safelincs.co.uk

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.

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.

Care home fire safety ruling

After the recent BBC investigation about London care homes not meeting fire safety regulations there has been an important court ruling that will hopefully change the behavior of care home owners and increase the safety of the residents.

The issue  regarding resident bedroom doors, which must be fitted with self closing fire doors, and the risk of these fire doors being wedged open in an illegal manner was addressed. Fire doors are generally heavy and when fitted with a self closing device very hard for an elderly person to open. In the case of care homes fitting bedroom doors with these devices will restrict the mobility and independence of residents. The fear was that care home owners will then wedge the doors open to allow residents to freely move in and out of their bedrooms. This practice is illegal and the judicial ruling now stipulates that self-closing fire doors must be fitted with a device that will hold the door open and which releases the door when a fire alarm is triggered, allowing the fire door to be closed with the door closer to prevent the spread of fire.

This is ruling is paramount in ensuring the safety of vulnerable residents. The solution to this new ruling need not result in having a new system wired into the premises but can be resolved with wireless devices such as Dorgard or Freedor. Both devices are wireless and can be fitted retrospectively to fire doors without the need of an electrician.

The Dorgard can be fitted to any door with a self closing device and will hold the door open until the fire alarm sounds. At this point the door retainer will lift the plunger and the fire door will close. The Freedor works in a similar way but it acts not only as a door holder but also as a door closer, incorporating the two devices in one. This device can hold the fire door open at any angle required and will then release and close the fire door on the sounding of the fire alarm.

Both fire door retainers have a night time closing feature and have adjustable  sensitivity. As the Dorgard and Freedor are both wireless products they can be fitted by a handy man rather than a costly electrician. The Dorgard has a 5 year warranty, which is only available from Safelincs Ltd.

For more information on fire door retainers and door holders please visit our website https://www.safelincs.co.uk/dorgard-and-other-fire-door-retainers/

More information about the judicial ruling can be found at http://www.cpbsonline.eu/pressrelease/pressrelease.aspx?companyname=Fireco&title=Court+Makes+Important+Care+Home+Fire+Safety+Ruling