Shut that door!
The famous trademark catchphrase of the late Larry Grayson.
In the case of fire doors, they must be kept shut at all times as the primary means of providing fire separation, unless fitted with a “hold-open device”.
Although proper fire separation is often essential to the evacuation strategy of a building, there’s no doubt that fire doors generally get in the way of everyday activities. A closed door in a busy office environment can create hazards to those using it -- e.g., to the disabled, where staff need to carry things through, or if the door is in a busy thoroughfare.
The solution is often a door wedge or even a fire extinguisher, very handy but potentially very dangerous! The correct solution is a “hold-open device”
The most common is an electro-magnetic, door hold-open/release device, however they may only be installed, where there is an automatic fire detection and warning system incorporating smoke detectors, which is designed to protect the escape routes in the building.
These will release the door in the event of:-
• A smoke detector being activated
• A manual break glass alarm call point being struck (or any other manual activation of the alarm)
• Any failure of the fire detection and alarm system
• Any electrical power failure
Another option is sound-activated device holding the door in the open position, may be an attachment to the door or integrated into the door closer itself. The devices are designed to release if the fire alarm sounds, allowing the door to close on the power of the self-closing device.
Because of the potential problems it’s therefore generally accepted good practice not to leave fire doors on hold-open devices endlessly. Closing at night if practicable, is advised. It should also be noted that accidents have occurred where doors have been released remotely, closing without warning on building occupants.
There are a number of products on the market some with limitations, for further advice contact Roy Blunt or Mark Harris on 0800 783 4171 or email firstname.lastname@example.org