Fire doors often get a bad reputation due to their bulkiness and impracticality within the workplace, particularly within hectic business environments. It can prove quite an inconvenience if have to barge your way through a cumbersome door that blocks the central office walkway or the main access point between your pub kitchen and bar.
In these situations it can be tempting to prop open the doors as a means of making a walkway more accessible. However,what many people fail to realise is that by implementing such practices they are actually breaking the law. Many businesses have managed to land themselves with hefty fines for breaking fire regulations after being found guilty of propping open fire doors with door wedges or heavy objects so as to allow for ease of access within the workplace.
Ironically it seems, it is often those at greatest risk of fire that are most guilty of these wrongdoings. The catering and hospitality industry is of particular threat due to the high-risks associated with working in a kitchen – cooking food, working over open fires and handling flammable substances on a daily basis. It is essential that if a fire breaks out in a kitchen it does not spread to other parts of the premises. Nevertheless it is not uncommon to see fire doors being propped open to allow for the constant influx of people from the kitchen to bar area.
Why do we need fire doors?
Fire doors are mandatory for a reason; thanks to their heftiness they help to prevent the fire from spreading throughout the building. This buys you some valuable time in which to evacuate the premises and get everyone out safely. In the occurrence of someone becoming trapped inside a building when it is ablaze, a fire door will protect the individual from the extreme heat and harmful fumes emitted, ultimately making the difference between life and death.
The most common type used within commercial settings is the FD60, which will withstand fire for up to an hour. Building regulations still make reference to FD20 (20 minutes) fire doors, but it is common practise to fit FD30 fire resisting doors as a minimum. All fire doors must have the appropriate proof of performance for the ratings they carry.
Another great benefit to fire doors is that they prove very effective at sound reduction. This is ideal for those of you that work within a hectic office environment and require some sections of a room to be shut off from the noise – perfect for private meeting areas or for offices within busy call centres.
If the design of a conventional fire door just isn’t practical within your workplace there are some alternatives that you ought to consider. Regulations state that if you need to keep your fire door open, it should be fitted with a door retainer. These safety-approved devices, also known as the ‘free door’ will close your fire door automatically when an alarm sounds. This ensures the safety of your staff and means you can go about your daily activities without the worry of breaking any fire regulations.
Our thanks to Kirsty Boden for this information. pb
Our thanks to Kirsty Boden for this informative article. pb