G.B. Fire Safety Ltd.

Company Registered Address: 80 Friar Gate Derby DE1 1FL      Company Registered in England and Wales No:  09582633

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Magnetic Door Locks wired into the Fire Alarm sounder circuit.

More recently it was identified at a fire incident that the magnetic door locks at a care home were wired into the fire alarm sounder circuit. This resulted in the magnetic locks re-energising when the alarm was silenced at the alarm panel. As the care home had residents living with dementia, the staff silenced the alarm once the location of the fire was identified to reduce the distress caused to these residents. Consequently, one of the final fire exit doors from the premises re-energised (locking) and resulted in a resident having to be evacuated via an alternative route and thereby passing the fire.

A further final exit door in the premises that was initially opened on the activation of the alarm and used a a means of escape , was subsequently blown shut by the wind after the alarm was silenced. This resulted in staff being unable to re-enter the building to continue with the evacuation of the remaining residents.

The result is that if a fire alarm is silenced that is configured as detailed above; it has the potential to hinder the evacuation of residents from the building, and limit the efficient access of firefighters entering the building, as the final exit doors can remain locked shut or subsequently be closed by adverse weather conditions.

On investigation of the fire alarm it was also identified that the internal magnetic hold open devices were also wired into the sounder circuit and the green override door call points had been omitted due to concerns over residents living with dementia using them to leave the building.

The result of the internal magnetic holders being re-energised is that during an evacuation or firefighters searching the building with fire alarm having been silenced, the doors fitted with re-energised magnetic hold open devices can be push opened far enough to re-engage them with the magnetic hold open devices, thereby leaving them open and compromising the compartmentation of the building and therefore facilitating the rapid spread of fire, heat and smoke.

We recommend that the responsible person commissions an urgent review of the fire detection systems fitted within their premises by a competent person. This should seek to establish if their premises fire detection system works as described above and if found to do so take the appropriate remedial action without delay. Furthermore, until the remedial works have been completed, it is imperative that suitable temporary measures including additional staff training and awareness is instigated without delay.