Using the wrong Risk Assessor can lead to trouble.

Following advice from the Chief Fire and Rescue Adviser, the Secretary of State has determined, under article 36 of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 that, the use of self-closing devices on bedroom fire doors provides the most appropriate solution to remedy the failure to comply with article 14 (2) (b) of the Order.

It is based entirely on the circumstances and conditions of the care home analysed and decisions made subsequent tp careful consideration of the circumstances relating to this case.

A copy of the advice of the Chief Fire and Rescue Adviser to the Secretary of State underpinning this determination is available at http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/fire/selfclosingdevices

The care home provider had sought to utilise a ‘management proceedure’ of manually closing bedroom doors within the care home in the event of fire alarm sounding. They sought advice from a fire engineer, who in our opinion, incorrectly applied Zone modelling to a complex and highly critical life safety condition.

Zone models are a tool within the fire engineers armoury, but was in this instance applied incorrectly. Full CFD modelling would have been more appropriate in this situation however there was a high dependency of the care home plan on staff intervention.

It utilised an ‘ideal’ situation where staff were free to go an check the fire alarm, then call the fire service while moving to the location of the fire alarm actuating, closing the doors within the zone affected.

This was a flawed management plan that any experienced and competent fire risk assessor would advised against from the outset. This should have been carefully explained to the care home provider, and at that point, if the care home provider had insisted on doing things their way, the fire risk assessor and client should have parted company.

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