Fire Door Safety, Security and Care

Posted: Friday, 10 May 2019 @ 17:14

Controlling the use of emergency exits is vital in most organisations. For retailers it is important that evacuation doors can’t bypass the main doorways to be used by shoplifters and thieves to avoid the checkout security sensors. For schools, colleges and hospitals it prevents the use of fire exits to sneak off-site, smoke or even pinch equipment. Even more important than these issues is the safeguarding of those legally responsible for the health and safety of the building occupants and its users.

Obvious as it may seem, emergency exits only work if they allow unimpeded evacuation in an emergency. Therefore a procedure to check that exit doors and routes are clear is paramount. Not just a procedure but a documented procedure that logs each and every test opening and identifies who undertook that important safety check and when?

It is to this end Unisto created the Security Seal &Sash solution for push bar type doors and Security Label for single doors. Each uniquely numbered seal can be easily broken requiring a force of less than 6kgf to break and not cause any obstruction. On a regular basis; daily, weekly or monthly (according to regulation) the seal is broken, the sash removed and the door opened and an inspection of the evacuation route made to ensure that it is clear. The sash is then resealed on the push bar ready for the next cycle. The inspection is logged with date, time, broken seal number, replacement seal number and initials; providing a full audit trail that can be inspected by a Health and Safety Manager or a Fire Officer.

Our high-vis, reflective and reusable sashes are also designed to be easy to break in an emergency but not for safety inspections, so they can last for many cycles, making the system cost-effective. The sash is designed with three perforated seal eyelets at either end, if one eyelet breaks the next one can be used to seal. The use of reflective material highlights the exit in low light conditions if a flashlight is shined on it, as an additional safety benefit.

It is often interesting to see how big retailers, exhibition centres and public buildings manage their exit doors. You can see high break-strength seals used where great force would be needed to break the seal to escape and others where multiple security seals are linked together in a daisy chain effect; although which number gets recorded in the audit log is anyone’s guess! We were once even involved in a tender that specified a steel cable seal for fire doors and with a break strength of circa 1,000 kgf no-one would have made it out alive if that had ended up being used.

The whole sealing and safety process is to protect those who have responsibility for building safety to show there is a procedure; it is followed, checked and audited to prevent a disaster. However should a disaster befall the building the health and safety team can demonstrate their care and competence with an auditable checking system that the authorities can inspect.

For those with legal liability, one does not simply need to be competent; one needs to be able to prove it and if necessary before a court of law.

  • UK Registered Office: Unisto Limited, Postford Mill, Mill Lane, Chilworth, Surrey, GU4 8RT
  • Tel 01483 209100
  • Fax 01483 209109
  • Email sales@unisto.co.uk