Fire doors form an integral part of the fire strategy for shared or multi-storey accommodations. Despite this, they’re still regularly found propped open, preventing them from working as they should. This short post seeks to explain why they shouldn’t be propped open, whilst it also covers a range of other frequently asked questions on the subject.

Why should fire doors be kept shut?

Fire doors should be kept shut because they need to be closed in order to prevent the spread of fire and smoke. Propping or wedging them open compromises the safety of the building’s inhabitants, putting them at serious risk, should a fire occur.

Is it illegal to wedge open a fire door?

If you wedge open a fire door and are adjudged to have put someone’s life at risk, you are liable for prosecution. You could be fined or given a prison sentence, or both, depending on the circumstances. For example, a landlord in Norwich received a 21 month prison sentence and was ordered to pay a fine and compensation for breaching fire and health and safety laws.

Should fire doors be left open?

Fire doors should be closed at all times, unless certified fire door retainers have been fitted. Fire door retainers hold fire doors open until a fire alarm is set off, closing it once the alarm has been triggered.

Can you keep a fire door open?

They can be kept open, but as previously mentioned, only via a certified fire door retainer. Using an object of some kind to prop them open is not suitable, because once the fire alarm is triggered, the object being used to prop the fire door open will still be in place and the door will be unable to close.

The difference between fire doors and fire exists

There is some confusion surrounding the difference between the two. Fire doors are internal doors designed to prevent the spread of fire and smoke. Fire exists, on the other hand, are external doors which serve as an emergency exit; they are sometimes used for general access and can be left open. They don’t always have to be fire-resistant either.

Can fire doors be used for access?

Fire doors which have external access can be used as an entrance. However, they should not be left open or obstructed in any way.

Expert fire door project advice across the South East from Newview Windows & Conservatories

Here at Newview we’ve collaborated with housing developers and county councils, providing our expert understanding of fire doors and their respective regulations on a number of large projects. If you’d like more information on how we can help you, then call us on 01903 244 449 or send us an online message.