What are You Responsible For?
Guesthouse and hotel owners are responsible under the 2005 Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order to make sure their guests remain safe and secure A fire risk assessment should be conducted on facilities and a “responsible person” nominated who, under the FOS, has legal responsibility and may be criminally prosecuted if they fail to fulfil their duties. That covers a requirement that the Responsible Person must demonstrate in the event there is a danger, and it is required to be possible for individuals to be able to evaluate the premises as safely and quickly as possible. Fire doors also are within the requirement, and the FSO specifically references them.
Although the legislation has been in place for several years, we continue hearing of business owners who don’t fully understand what their responsibilities are, along with regular prosecutions and, tragically, deaths and injuries that can be associated directly with poor Fire Door management. Mixed use buildings have been of special concern where residents and businesses co-exist, such as flats over restaurants or shops.
Why are Fire Doors so Important?
- What fire doors do is ensure that in the event a fire breaks out, that it can be contained within a “compartment.” that keeps the smoke and fire trapped for a certain period of time, to give enough time for individual to be rescued or get out and make it easier to tackle the fire.
- If propped open or damaged it won’t fulfil that function.
Identifying Fire Doors
- A fire door might be indicated by signs including things such as smoke seals or intumescent around the frame or door edges, door closers, or ‘Keep Closed’ and ‘Fire Door’ signs.
- With blocks of flats, such as Bracknell serviced apartments invariably the external door on a flat should be the fire door, since that helps to protect the common area from spreading of smoke and flame. Other locations depend on the fire plan and risk assessment of the buildings. Also, internal doors can be fire doors depending on how far it is from the entrance door of the flat and size of apartment. The Building Regulations has more Approved Document B Volumes 1 (for homes) and 2 Part B (for flats).
- Fire doors are all fire rated. There are some that are FD30 (which provide 30 minutes of protection, and FD60 (which provide protection of at least 60 minutes.) Usually there is a certificate mark (plug or label) on the top of the door when it is a fire door.
Inspecting and Maintaining a Fire Door
- You should have your fire doors checked on a regular basis, and they need to be checked more frequently the more that they are used.
- Dodgy fire doors can be spotted by anyone. However, call a professional in if you are legally responsible for fire safety.
- A FDIS Certificated Inspector should always be used under the Fire Safety Order for professional advice on how to meet your responsibilities.
- Get a maintenance schedule and checklist created, and check all of your building’s doors.
- Damaged components should only ever be replaced with like-for-like. Check your fire certificate. This maintenance work should be done by a trained individual.
Tips for Guests
- Be sure that you check to see if the fire doors fit that purpose.
- Don’t wedge the door open, especially at night, and make sure the fire doors are closed.
- Notice any dodgy fire doors? Make sure to report it right away to your landlord.
- Refer your landlord to the advice provided on this website.
- Make sure to always check fire door and if there are any problems, report them.
- If you don’t feel like your concerns have been taken seriously or no action is taken, then you can go to Trip Advisor and post a review and send film or photos of dodgy fire doors to the Facebook page Theodore’s Firedoor.
Tips for Hotel Managers and Owners
- Make sure that your doors are all in good and safe working order.
- If a Fire Risk Assessment has been conducted, be sure that they covered the doors and that the assessor is knowledgeable in that area.
- When doing your regular checks, make sure to identify and include all of your fire doors.
- If you have any doubts, have a professional come in and conduct a survey.
- Keep in mind that if the entrance locks need to be replaced then you need to ensure they are compatible with your doors and fitted professionally
- Don’t trim off the bottom of your door so that a newspaper can slide under it – this gap will enable fire to spread