We always see them around in our office, but how exactly are we going to manage in the event of a fire emergency? We’ll have a look at the way a fire exit should be kept in the workplace and how to manage in case of a fire.
What is a Fire Exit Door?
Primarily composed of two elements, a fire exit can refer to both the final exit that leads to the outside of a building and it also denotes any internal routes that lead to the actual final fire exit.
Just remember that any door that leads to the outside of a building is still considered a fire exit.
In this article, we are going to explore various tips about fire exit doors and how to best manage them. It is important to avoid common mistakes that can be sometimes made and that can have a disastrous impact, in the likelihood of a fire emergency.
So here is what you should know:
The escape route should be really direct.
The escape route should not be too long so that people won’t have to travel for a long period of time through an unprotected escape route in case of an emergency. They should be able to reach the safety area easily.
The difference between the unprotected escape route and the protected escape route is quite straight forward.
The protected escape route is any route that has been designed in such a way that protects people from any immediate dangers produced by the fire, such as smoke or flames, and it’s usually in the form of a staircase that leads to the final exit.
Avoid using sliding or revolving doors as fire exits.
Doors that are hard to open or push in case of a fire should be by no means fire exits as they should be too challenging to open for people in case of an emergency. Usually, it’s the sliding doors or the revolving ones that should be avoided at all costs. You should also avoid locking the fire doors in a way that is going to cause a lot of struggle for people to open it in the eventuality of an emergency. They need to be easily accessed and opened in case of a fire.
Don’t lock fire exit doors while the building is in use.
If the building is unoccupied, then, of course, the fire exit can be locked. However, the first person entering the building the next morning is required to remove all the padlocks or any other items that have been used to secure the door.
Best practice recommends that every building has a red-painted wall-mounted board near the entrance area, specially designed to hold all the security devices (such as padlocks) that are used to secure the fire exit.
It is recommended to use panic bars as those are the ones that offer great security while also being easily removed in the eventuality of an emergency.
Fire Exit Doors can be any colour, but the important thing is that they are clearly marked.
Regardless of the colour, fire exit doors need to be visible and marked accordingly, so that everyone knows exactly where they are. In addition, fire exit doors should also be opening towards the direction of travel and not inwards. There is an exception to the rule, and that is when the building is providing access for less than 60 staff members without public access.
The number of fire exits in a workplace is linked to the number of people working in that building.
You should also take into consideration the size of the building, the occupation of the premises and the use. The more people working there, the bigger the number of fire exit doors that need to be used. If you need more technical details, we recommend checking out this link to get a better overview of what you need to have.
The presence of ALL the fire exits and emergency routes is indicated by a visible sign.
Those signs are called emergency exit signs and they usually are sufficiently lit, even in the case of a power supply failure. People should be able to spot it easily and reach it without too much difficulty.
You could head over to our safety signs page if you need more information.
Never obstruct the path of the fire exit doors and emergency routes.
You can never know when an event like that can take place so it’s best not to block the fire exits.
It goes without saying that you should follow the same practice for internal escape routes.
Make sure that any item that is likely to generate fire, fuel it or spread it, such as sources of fuel, or combustibles like portable heaters, radiant heaters, gas cylinders etc, are not to be kept in the corridors, stairways or any other circulation space that could be used as an escape route.
When the fire exit door leads to a car park, then you need a ‘No Parking’ sign.
Avoid using doors that lead to an enclosed area, such as a courtyard.
This would further put people in danger by leading them to an area that could be engulfed in fire.
Avoid situations like this at all costs.
How Often Should you check your fire escApe route?
There is no minimum requirement of escape route checks per year, however, they should be performed on a regular basis as per the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. What “regularly” means is left to the discretion of the appointed Responsible Person and varies depending on factors, such as the size of your building and how many people work there.
Being prepared for emergencies is a priority that everyone should regard with much care and staying compliant with regulations means that you are prepared to tackle any problems that can arise.
We hope that this article gave you a good overview of how fire exit doors should be handled and maintained.