Fire doors are dangerous!
You carry out fire drills regularly – and everyone troops out to the car park or nearby assembly point and they probably see it as anything from a minor inconvenience to a break from work. But when you carry out a fire drill there is no real fire so people have very little idea of what it would be like in a real fire emergency.
You only have to see the lack of urgency with which people leave during a planned fire drill (or even an unplanned one); they stop to collect bags, cigarettes, mobile phones and other personal possessions. I’ve even seen people stop to answer a phone call!
If a real fire was in progress they would have to deal with situations in which areas and routes could not be used as a way out. It’s impossible to replicate smoke and other fire hazards.
Nobody notices whether fire doors are propped open or not during a fire drill – it doesn’t make any difference, but it does when there’s a real fire.
Fires respond to draughts and air flows – the fire goes along the line of least resistance. If it’s reached a corridor it can race along the space in seconds, destroying any means of escape for people in the rooms either side of the corridor.
That’s where a fire door really comes into its own. It stops the fire in its tracks – for a period of time long enough for people ahead to get out by the nearest fire exit.
When you stop and think about it fire doors are an amazing safety device – and dangerous when left open!
If you want a few facts and things you (and your staff should know) about Fire Doors get them to read this http://firedoorsafetyweek.co.uk/why-fd/ and run a quiz for Fire Door Safety Week (15-21 September 2014) to see how much they can remember.