Fire Door Safety during Covid-19
Welcome to our fifth and final mini blog of the week to raise awareness of Fire Door Safety Week. We couldn’t really let the week pass without mentioning the C word could we? So, how has the Covid-19 pandemic affected fire safety? Read on to find out more.
Can I wedge open our fire doors to stop people from touching handles?
- No, fire doors are an important fire safety measure, fire doors should be kept closed and government advice with regards to hand washing and cleansing hard surfaces should be followed.
Why can’t I wedge open my fire door to circulate air throughout the room?
- When you prop open a fire door using a wedge or chock forced between the door leaf and floor, the opposing forces applied through door leaf are constant and dramatically increased. Add fluctuating moisture content and humidity variables found in every building and the door will, without doubt, distort out of shape.
A door leaf that is bent out of shape will not close flush into its frame. A fire door leaf that does not close flush into frame is no longer a fire and smoke resisting system.
And that is why you should never prop open a fire door.
Do I still need to carry out a Fire Risk Assessment (which can include fire door safety checks)?
- Many businesses, whether they have remained open or not, are experiencing changes in risk. In all cases, businesses should be aware of these changes in risk and review their fire risk assessment accordingly.
My business is reopening following Covid-19, what do I need to think about in relation to fire safety?
Following the reopening of your business you should review your fire risk assessment to ensure it takes into account any changes to your business operations due to the pandemic.
You should consider the following:
- How many people you have on the premises at a time and if there are enough of trained people to co-ordinate or carry out an evacuation, if needed?
- Is there still the capacity to help people with a disability and any persons who may require assistance in an emergency?
- Has social distancing created any lone working situations?
- Have there been any changes in working practices due to coronavirus and how might they affect your risk assessment?
- Have you had to increase your stock levels and do you need to adjust control measures accordingly?
- Have you been able to test during lockdown? Do you need to carry out testing before re-occupation? Testing and maintenance regimes do they need to change?
- Do you need additional staff training, including fire wardens or fire marshals? Do you need to train more people if people are working at varying times?
- Have you factored in social distancing to your emergency evacuation plan?
More information on this topic can be found on the National Fire Chiefs Council website here
Here at ProFire Safety & Training, we carry out fire door inspections and fire risk assessments for businesses, public sector buildings, schools and care homes across the UK and can help with ensuring your business remains compliant during the Covid-19 pandemic – if you have specific questions please feel free to get in touch with one of our fire safety officers.
For more information on our services please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org – we’re here to help.