Is It Okay To Wedge a Fire Door Open?


3 Reasons to NOT Wedge Open Your Fire Door

Firstly, without a doubt, we understand the benefits involved when considering whether to wedge open a fire door.

  • Convenience.
  • Closed doors are a pain.
  • Create easy access.
  • Ventilation and air flow.
  • Fire doors are heavy.

We’ve heard these reasons a million times. It’s hot, stuffy, there are viruses spreading and improving ventilation in the office seems important. However tempting, we will explain to you why not wedge open a fire door.

Firstly, What is a Fire Door?

Important to realise, a fire door is a safety device. Frames, hinges and seals work in synergy to provide protection from a fire for a minimum of 30 minutes.

To clarify, this 30 minutes of protection ONLY applies if the door is SHUT, as it should be.

With this purpose in mind, any alterations will render the fire door useless in protecting those in the building.

Secondly, Contents Insurance

We’ve spoken about what a fire door is, now let’s talk insurance. Accidents happen, unfortunate incidents occur and insurance is available. Businesses needing to protect their contents should read the following… If a fire door is seen to have been wedged open, your insurance will be invalidated.

You will wave your right to claim on the following:

  • Stock
  • Contents
  • Loss of Earnings
  • Staff Wages
  • Interim Payments
  • Documents

True cost of wedging a fire door open

Thirdly, Smoke Travels

Spreading rapidly, smoke will travel the corridors with ease if doors are wedged open. Protective barriers are worthless. An open door cannot protect you against fire and smoke when opened. Known as the ‘chimney effect’ smoke will allow the fire to destroy the entire building.

So, Can I Wedge Open a Fire Door?

In conclusion, NO, if you wedge open a fire door you will create a dangerous situation. Uncontrolled fire could lead to property damage or even loss of life.

Wedge the door and:

  • Lose lives.
  • Invalidate insurance.
  • Increase the spread of the fire.
  • Increase the speed of the spread.
  • Reduce the time you have to evacuate.
  • Incur huge costs to the business.

Fire Door Keep Shut
Fire Door Keep Shut

Fire Door Seals

Designed to expand under heat, a fire door seal will fill the gap between the door leaf and frame. As a result of heat, intumescent seals will contain the fire through expansion. 3mm gaps should not be exceeded along the 2 long edges and top of the fire door. 

See more government guidance on fire doors.

Fire Door Holders

If a fire door is frequently opened, there are many methods to safely hold the door open. We have mentioned you shouldn’t use a wedge, however, there are devices to aid in holding your doors open. 

Fire door retainers are also known as fire door holders. These are designed to safely hold open heavy fire doors.

Fire door retainers allow for the doors to stay open in case there is a fire and then they will release, trapping the fire and allowing you a safer access out.

Rutland Responder 24 Electromagnetic
Overhead Fire Door Closers

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