The Importance of Fire Doors
​A large city based hospital in the South of England has our Drax’s AMX alarm management system installed to monitor alarms from several different fire alarm systems situated across the site. The system is employed to manage alarms from disparate systems and assist with the hospital’s regulatory compliance. However, the hospital’s main requirement was the capability of the AMX system to monitor the hospital’s fire doors. In particular that all the fire doors are closed in the silent hours to restrict the spread of smoke in an unlikely event of a fire. Buildings with a sleeping risk are designed to have fire doors in corridors to prevent smoke moving from one compartment to the next and provide occupants in areas adjacent to the fire with sufficient time to evacuate the premises by an alternative route. 

This all sounds fine and in most cases works well. Even if doors are held open with magnetic door retainers during working hours, to allow free passage through corridors, the activation of a smoke sensor will signal the door retaining device to release and the self-closing mechanism to close the door. That’s the theory. However, in a very large building ensuring the various systems work faultlessly all of the time and that people do not restrict the automatic closing of the doors becomes an area for concern. The fourteen elderly residents that died in the Rosepark care home fire in 2004 were all sleeping in bedrooms where the door had either been wedged open or did not close properly. Survivors were located in rooms where the doors were closed, preventing toxic smoke in the corridor from entering the bedroom.

So what better way than for a security guard to check that all the doors that should be closed, are closed without having to continuously walk every corridor of a large and busy building regularly.  Drax’s AMX alarm management system can facilitate this very simply, highlighting open doors that should be closed and if necessary logging and storing the facts in the computer’s memory.

A plan of the floor is displayed on the AMX screen that clearly shows doors in red to be open and those in green closed. A separate event list, details the doors that are either open or closed. AMX is so flexible in the way it can be configured that there are numerous different ways of displaying the status of the fire doors. It really is up to the user as to what and when they want to see the status of the fire doors. As well as the obvious and important safety advantages of such a system, security staff productivity and efficiency benefits can also be gained.

Clearly this would work as well in any large busy building that has a sleeping risk. Hotels, student accommodation, residential or nursing homes would all benefit from knowing that doors that should be closed are closed.