What are You Responsible For?
Under the Regulatory Reform – Fire Safety – Order (FSO) 2005, owners of Guest Houses and Hotels are responsible for the safety of their guests. Under the Fire Safety Order, these facilities should have a fire risk assessment and a designated responsible person who is liable for prosecution in case they fail to meet their duties. The FSO provides a specific reference to the state of fire doors, which lies within the scope of the responsibility mentioned above.
Regular prosecution cases, establishment owners who fail to comprehend their responsibilities, fatalities and injuries that are directly associated with improper fire door management continue to be witnessed even though the law has been in place for several years. Mixed-use structures, where residents and business establishments are under the same roof, such as residential flats located on top of a restaurant, are one of the specific areas of concern.
Why Do You Need Fire Doors?
Fire doors are designed to compartmentalise fires in case of a breakout. This helps give people more time to evacuate, while also making it easier to combat the fire, by trapping both the smoke and fire for a longer period. If the fire door is propped open or damaged, it will not achieve the above mentioned function.
Signs of a Fire Door
Smoke or intumescent seals lining the door frame or edge of the door and the presence of “Keep Closed” or “Fire Door” signs are some of the main signs of a fire door.
To keep smoke and flames from spreading across common areas in blocks of flats, a fire door should be installed as the external door to each flat. The placement of fire doors in other areas is dependent on structure’s fire plan and risk assessment, depending on the size of apartments and their distance from the entrance door of the flat, internal doors might as well be fire doors. The Building Regulation’s Approved Document B Volumes 1 – designed for houses – and 2 Part B – designed for flats – covers this subject in detail.
Fire rating is used for all fire doors. Some of the ratings used include FD30, FD60 and higher – this means that the doors offer 30 minutes, 60 minutes of protection or higher respectively. When the door in question is a fire door, a certification mark, in the form of a label or plug, can be found at the upper part of the door.
Inspecting and Servicing Fire Doors
As a rule of thumb, fire doors need to be inspected on a regular basis; frequently used doors should be inspected more regularly. Legally responsible parties should have fire doors inspected by professionals even though anyone can identify a damaged door.
It is recommended that you always use an FDIS Certified Inspector such as TPT Fire when looking for professional advice on how to meet your obligations under the FSO. In addition to checking all the doors in the structure, you should put together a maintenance checklist and timetable. Damaged fire door components should only be replaced with the exact parts, in line with the provisions of the fire certificate. This maintenance work should be carried out by a qualified professional.
What Guests Should Do
- Always be ready to act.
- Check to see whether fire doors actually work.
- Remember to keep fire doors closed at night, in particular, and never prop them open.
- Make sure that you report any problematic fire doors to the landlord immediately.
- Suggest that they follow this website’s advice.
- Be sure to inspect the fire doors and report any issues.
- Consider sending images or video of problematic fire doors to Theodore Firedoor’s page on Facebook, or write a review on TripAdvisor if you think that your concerns are falling on deaf ears or no action is being taken to address them.
What Hotel Managers and/or Owners Should Do
- Make sure that fire doors are in safe working condition.
- Make sure that the Fire Risk Assessment, if conducted, is handled by a qualified professional, and that it covers the fire doors.
- Identify and include the fire doors in your regular fire safety check.
- Call in a professional to conduct a survey if in doubt.
- If you are planning on having the entry door locks replaced, make sure that they are designed to fit the doors and are fitted by a qualified professional.
- Avoid cutting any gaps into the door, e.g. a gap at the bottom allowing you to slip newspapers through, as they are bound to make it easier for fires to spread.