Research has linked a reduction in mobility in the elderly to a correlating reduction in levels of social participation, general health and overall quality of life. Elderly in care often experience an impairment of their mobility, due to a medical condition or illness or through the environment that they live in.
Heavy fire doors, which are an essential part of fire safety provision within care settings, pose a large barrier to independent mobility of residents. There are ways of legally holding fire doors open, which enhance the independent mobility of the elderly without compromising your fire safety integrity. Fire door holders and retainers can be fitted to fire doors, enabling them to be pinned open. When the fire alarm sounds the holder or retainer will automatically allow the fire door to close and prevent the spread of fire.
What do you, as the manager of the care setting, need to consider before choosing your solution? The first point to consider are the benefits that installing a fire door closer or holder will have on both your residents and your staff. Being able to hold fire doors open will not only enable residents to have increased independence it will also free up carers time to spend with residents in a more directed way and it will increase the flow of fresh air through your building, making the environment more pleasant.
Considering what features and essential functions you require will guide you through the selection process. Do you want the flexibility to have fire doors open at any angle or just pinned wide open? Some units have the ability to effectively take the weight out of your fire door, enabling it to act as any normal door. You will be able to leave the door ajar, which can be beneficial at night for residents who feel anxious. Having the ability to set a night closing timer will save staff time and ensure that the doors you don’t want leaving open are closed at the same time each night.
The installation process should also be given some thought. Hard wired units will require an electrician to install them, whereas battery operated ones allow you the flexibility to install them through your general handyman. Hard wired devices will be triggered by the fire alarm panel, battery operated units have the capability to ‘hear’ your fire alarm and will be triggered when the alarm sounds. Some units can recognise your specific fire alarm sound, which reduces them closing to the sound of other noises that resemble a fire alarm.
Supplied by Safelincs