Fire doors play a crucial role in protecting lives and properties during a fire incident. They are specifically designed to contain the spread of fire and smoke, providing essential evacuation routes and buying time for safe evacuation.  

In the UK, the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 places a legal responsibility on building owners to ensure that fire doors are kept always closed and are in good working order. However, there are certain circumstances where leaving a fire door open may be necessary.

Fire Door Hold-Open Devices and Automatic Closing Systems

Fire door hold-open devices and automatic closing systems offer solutions for temporarily leaving fire doors open in specific situations. These devices are designed to automatically release and close the fire door upon the activation of a fire alarm or other triggering events. Here are a few scenarios where these systems are commonly utilized:

  1. Accessibility Requirements: In buildings where accessibility is a priority, such as hospitals or care homes, hold-open devices may be installed to allow easy passage for individuals with mobility challenges. This ensures that fire doors do not pose barriers to their movement, while still maintaining fire safety standards.
  2. Building Functionality: Some buildings, such as shopping centres or office complexes, may require open fire doors during business hours to facilitate the flow of foot traffic. Hold-open devices or automatic closing systems can be utilized to allow unrestricted access while ensuring that fire doors are closed promptly in the event of a fire.

Fire Door images
Open Fire door

Controlled and Monitored Areas

In certain controlled and monitored areas, leaving fire doors open under specific conditions may be allowed. However, it is crucial to implement additional safety measures to mitigate risks. Here are a couple of scenarios where controlled and monitored areas may permit open fire doors:

  1. Fire Wardens or Trained Personnel: Buildings with dedicated fire wardens or trained personnel responsible for monitoring the area may allow fire doors to remain open temporarily. However, this should be done under strict supervision and adherence to fire safety protocols.
  2. Alarm Systems and Surveillance: In areas equipped with advanced fire alarm systems and surveillance, fire doors can be monitored to ensure they are promptly closed when necessary. This can be achieved through alarm monitoring systems that trigger alerts when fire doors remain open beyond a specified timeframe.

Remember, fire safety should always be a top priority. It is crucial to strike a balance between accessibility, building functionality, and fire protection when considering leaving fire doors open. By understanding the specific requirements and implementing appropriate measures, you can maintain a safe environment without compromising on fire safety standards.

Highlights To Remember

Fire doors should always have proper labeling

Engage qualified fire safety professionals to inspect and assess fire doors regularly.

Never use wedges or props to keep fire doors open for extended periods.

Conduct periodic tests of hold-open devices, and automatic closing systems

Maintain records of fire door inspections, repairs, and maintenance activities.

When in doubt, always consult an expert

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