Wedging Fire Doors Open – An Illegal Practice

Fire doors are an essential part of your fire safety strategy and could save lives and limit the collateral damage in your care home should a fire break out. Despite this some care facilities turn a blind eye to the practice of wedging a fire door open, put- ting the lives of vulnerable residents at risk. If you are the responsible person in your care setting, you could face a large fine or even a prison sentence for allowing this illegal and dangerous practice to happen.

To prevent fire doors being wedged open it is important to first understand why staff and sometimes even residents do this. Fire doors must all be self-closing causing staff difficulties when carrying trays and equipment around the care home. Wedging fire doors open in corridors enables them to move quickly and complete their tasks faster.

Residents also can feel trapped and isolated when their bedroom door is constantly closed. Due to the often frail nature of elderly residents and impaired mobility and use of walking aids such as sticks, walkers and wheelchairs, many residents may not be able to open their bedroom door to access communal areas and socialise with other residents and staff. This can have a significant impact on their mental health and can lead to feelings of depression.

Fire doors prevent the spread of fire and create a barrier of protection. Removing this protective barrier by wedging the fire door open can significantly increase how quick a fire can spread and can severely hinder your evacuation as smoke and fumes from a fire rapidly fill corridors and rooms.

Finding a legal solution to these problems is the only way. A fire door retainer such as the Dorgard has been providing a legal solution for decades. The Dorgard retainers hold the fire door open in normal operation but will close the door when it ‘hears’ the fire alarm.

With three versions, Dorgard original, SmartSound and Pro, there is a Dorgard for all care settings. The type of environment will determine which Dorgard is best suited, giving you the peace of mind that you are meeting all your legislative requirements and ensuring that residents are able to move about as independently as possible.

Dorgard Original and SmartSound are suitable for small to medium sized settings and can be easily installed by a handyman with the SmartSound being used in noisier environments. For larger establishments Dorgard Pro is ideal as it can accommodate up to 500 doors and offers a simple ‘one glance check’ that the entire system is functioning.

For help and advice or more information, please contact Safelincs on 0800 612 7980 visit

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