Enrich Learning Trust has built a collaborative family of six educational establishments – two primary schools, four high schools including a sixth form. The Trust’s vision is to challenge, develop and innovate, ensuring that what they provide enables young people to become successful learners, confident individuals and responsible citizens.
As an education provider, Enrich Learning Trust takes its responsibilities of fire safety seriously, with self-closing fire doors fitted throughout their premises. Fire doors ensure that, in the event of a fire, its spread would be contained.
However, the Covid-19 crisis has required schools and educational establishments to ensure that ventilation within their buildings is maximised.
Propping fire doors open with random items is dangerous and illegal. So, the Trust was looking for a way that fire doors could be kept open to ease congestion without contravening fire safety standards.
The Dorgard is a safe and legal solution that allows fire doors to be kept open safely, while automatically closing them in the event of a fire. It has a rubber plunger which can hold the door open in any selected position. When a fire alarm sounds, the integral audio-electronics signals the plunger to retract, allowing the fire door to close automatically. Dorgard is battery powered, so there is no need for complex and expensive wiring into the building's fire alarm system. It can therefore be operated alongside any existing fire alarm system.
Enrich Learning Trust selected Safelincs to supply a total of 153 Dorgards. Peter Jordan, the Trust's COO commented that Safelincs was, "able to offer a competitive price, quick, flexible delivery and installation where required."
North Walsham High School is one of the schools in the trust and had 64 Dorgards installed by Safelincs. Facilities manager Paul Essam: "The installation was carried out quickly and efficiently; the team were so efficient and the whole job caused no extra work for our team."
The school can now operate with better ventilation, wheelchair access and all-round convenience without jeopardising safety or breaking the law. In addition, with hundreds of pupils and staff moving through the school throughout the day, constant opening and shutting of the doors has been considerably reduced, minimising wear and tear on both the doors and the corridors.
The Institute of Directors (IoD) was founded in 1903 and within three years was awarded a Royal Charter to support, represent and set standards for business leaders nationwide.
The IoD is committed to support its 30,000 members, encourage entrepreneurial activity and promote responsible business practice. Its objective is to ensure the views of members are taken into account when the government is reviewing policy, legislation or seeking the opinions of the wider business community.
The organisation operates from a prestigious Grade 1 listed building in the heart of London that offers a flexible and versatile venue for hire which is utilised for conferences, filming, parties, launch events, exhibitions, weddings, dinners, awards ceremonies, corporate events, fashion shows and more.
Out of sight in the office areas, there are numerous fire doors that legally must be kept closed unless in use. With employees moving around the space, having doors constantly shut can be inconvenient. A solution was required that would allow doors to be left open on a less restrictive basis.
Safelincs recommended the Dorgard, a safe and legal solution that allows fire doors to remain open safely, while automatically closing them in the event of a fire.
Dorgard is a small device that is fixed to the lowest part of the fire door. It has a rubber plunger/stopper which remains in contact with the floor and, unlike magnetic fire door retainers, can hold the door open in any selected position. When a fire alarm sounds, the integral audio-electronic device inside the Dorgard signals the plunger to retract, allowing the fire door to close normally.
The Royal Liverpool University Hospital is the largest hospital in Merseyside and Cheshire. It has over 40 wards and more than 710 beds. The Emergency Department at the hospital is the largest in the country.
Mike Farrell, a fire safety advisor at the hospital, ensures that the Hospital Trust complies with health and safety as well as fire safety regulations. With hundreds of staff working within this large critical environment it is not surprising that issues arose with regards to fire doors and the movement of patients within the building. The heavy fire doors were making it difficult for staff to push patients from one department to another. Mike Farrell 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."
Wedging a fire door open is illegal and poses a great risk to patients and the building should a fire break out. In order to ensure the safety of everyone within the building it was essential that Mr Farrell found a solution that would make opening the fire doors easier for staff and maintained fire safety compliance.
Mr Farrell commented "To make sure we remain compliant, we sought a solution. We looked for a product that would keep our fire doors open, create a safer environment with the reassurance that the doors will close on the alarm. The way that the doors are situated and the incompatibility of the walls in our High Dependency ward meant that we couldn’t have a magnetic device, so we found Freedor."
"Freedor just goes over the top of the door, it’s out of the way" said Mike. Staff at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital can now walk with ease through the fire doors, even when they are pushing a patient through who is on a bed or stretcher. The Trust now comply with fire safety regulations and have found a cost effective way to allow heavy fire doors to swing freely and close should the fire alarm be triggered.
Mike commented that "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."
A charity group who took up the running and maintenance of the historical building, Alford Corn Exchange, in Alford Lincolnshire in 2014. Alford is a small market town within a rural farming community.
The hall has expanded what it can offer to hirers, with the purchase of banqueting tables and plush chairs, the organisers have been able to offer packages for weddings, funeral teas and parties. The kitchen is situated at the back of the building and caterers have to walk from the kitchen through the Theatre Bar into the main hall to serve food and drinks at larger functions. On route are two heavy fire doors with strong door closers fitted.
When volunteers carry food and refreshments from one room to the other at functions they find the fire doors difficult to open, sometimes resulting in spillages and the doors close very quickly behind them. The heavy doors also mean that people with impaired mobility struggle to access all areas of the Corn Exchange.
The Trustees of the Alford Corn Exchange decided that the free-swing Freedor door closer offered them the best solution to their problem. The Freedor is fitted to the top of the door as any door closer but it incorporates the technology of a door retainer inside the casing.
The device is wireless which makes installation simple, easy and cost effective. The unit has the ability to hold the fire door open in any position and allows it to swing freely as any other door. Freedor listens for the fire alarm and on hearing it, automatically closes the fire door and reverts back to functioning as a normal door closer until reset in free-swing action.
Visitors of all ages and all levels of mobility can now move with ease from one room to another. Caterers and volunteers are able to carry trays of food and drinks from one room to another without difficulty. Janet Taylor, Vice Chair said "I would like to say what a difference the new door closers have made to me and other volunteers ,working and serving food at the functions." Janet also said that “It was never easy carrying trays etc. into the main hall, turning round and the door had closed again. I am sure that other caterers who hire our facilities will also appreciate the new Freedor.”
The Freedor allows fire doors to be kept open legally, allowing a flow of fresh air when hot outside. The addition of these units gives the Trustees piece of mind that hirers can keep the rooms cool without breaching fire safety legislation.
Portland Youth Christian Outreach (PYCO), a small charitable organisation working with young people on the Isle of Portland, Dorset. The centre is open Friday and Saturday evening from 7.30pm to 10.15pm for young people aged between 11 and 19. It offers a drop-in centre and a coffee bar.
The charity carried out a fire risk assessment through which they identified that they did not have sufficient measures in place to prevent the spread of fire through the building or protect the users and staff at the centre. Users at the centre and staff were wedging fire doors open to increase accessibility through the building and also to enable staff to monitor activities in other rooms. Zach Williams, Operations Manager 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.”
It was identified that a cost effective solution was needed to allow the ease of movement and ensure that fire safety legislation was not breached. Zach became aware of the Dorgard, which is a wireless fire door retainer that holds the fire door permanently open but closes the door in case of fire. He said “we had seen the Dorgard product and were aware that this would be a good solution to the issues of wedging doors open in the centre as it enables better fire protection.” Fitted with a door closer on the fire door, Dorgard listens for the fire alarm. On hearing it the unit will lift its plunger and the door will close, preventing the spread of fire.
PYCO wanted to find a solution that would not reduce their accessibility but that made them compliant with fire safety regulations. After the easy installation process of fitting Dorgards at the centre in Portland, 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.”
Now staff and users of PYCO can move about the building freely, staff are able to monitor all the rooms adequately and fire safety regulations are adhered to.
Stanbridge Associates is a firm of accountants, specialising in the medical profession, based in Lincoln.
The firm moved into newly renovated premises – a Victorian building close to the centre of Lincoln - and needed all fire safety facilities in the building to be overhauled in time for the opening.
A fire risk assessor from Safelincs visited and undertook a full fire risk assessment. An extinguisher site survey was carried out and the fire alarm system was tested.
Choosing P50 extinguishers will save Stanbridge 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 inspection can be easily carried out by one of the Stanbridge employees and the engineer demonstrated the simple process at the time of installation. P50 extinguishers also do not require a refill after five years, reducing costs dramatically.
Stanbridge Associates had a complete overhaul of the fire prevention facilities at its new premises carried out quickly and cost-effectively.
“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.”
Children's Services at a large local authority and one of its foster families.
The foster family has a young child in its care with severe behavioural and emotional problems that is prone to self-harm. Everything had been made completely safe in his bedroom but concerns were still arising at night as he had access to the remainder of the house.
The obvious solution was to lock the child in its bedroom, but this presented an additional concern regarding fire safety. If a fire were to break out the child would be trapped in the bedroom.
Safelincs worked with Children's Services and the local fire service to come up with a way in which this problem could be resolved.
The solution was to fit a magnetic lock (mag lock) on the child's bedroom door. The strong electromagnet keeps the door closed but if a smoke alarm in the house is triggered the electricity supply to the magnetic lock automatically cuts out and the magnet loses power, releasing the door which can then be opened.
The foster parents are now able to sleep safe in the knowledge that their child cannot come to harm outside his room. At the same time if there was a fire the child would not be trapped.
Reviewed: (v1.0). Our articles are reviewed regularly. However, any changes made to standards or legislation following the review date will not have been considered. Please note that we provide abridged, easy-to-understand guidance. To make detailed decisions about your fire safety provisions, you might require further advice or need to consult the full standards and legislation.