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Fire Exit Door Regulations in the UK

June 2nd, 2023

Last updated: June 9th, 2023

When you’re running a commercial premises then it is likely that you will have numerous questions about fire regulations, and how you can ensure that you keep your premises safe and compliant with government guidelines.

Our experts help to advise people every single day on the right approach to fire suppression within their businesses, and that includes fire exit doors.

While we’ve all seen fire exit doors, we might not totally understand what the regulations are, if they are required and under what circumstances. We explore more.

What Are Fire Exit Doors?

A fire exit door, also known as an emergency exit door, is a crucial component of building safety and evacuation procedures. It is specifically designed and strategically placed within a building to provide a quick and safe means of escape during emergencies, particularly in the event of a fire. Fire exit doors are typically marked with clear signage and are easily identifiable for occupants in case of an emergency.

These doors may be constructed to be sturdy and fire-resistant, ensuring that they can withstand high temperatures and prevent the spread of flames and smoke, but it is more crucial that they open easily. They are often equipped with panic bars or push bars, allowing for swift and effortless access to the outside or a designated safe area. Emergency lighting may lead the way to the fire exit.

What Are the UK Rules on Emergency Exits?

In the UK, the government has established specific regulations and guidelines regarding fire exit doors and emergency exit doors in businesses. These regulations aim to ensure the safety of occupants and facilitate efficient evacuation during emergencies.

Here is a rough guide to the government rules and the BS best practices.

Accessibility: Fire exit doors must be easily accessible and kept clear of any obstructions at all times. They should be unobstructed by furniture, equipment, or other objects that may hinder escape.

Signage and Markings: Fire exit doors must be clearly marked with appropriate signage, such as “Fire Exit” or “Emergency Exit,” to ensure they are easily identifiable. These signs should be visible and legible from a distance.

Opening Mechanisms: Fire exit doors should be designed to open easily and quickly in the direction of escape. They should not require a key to unlock from the inside and should have panic bars or push bars that allow for swift and effortless opening. They can be left open as long as they are not being used as a specific fire door.

Maintenance and Inspections: Regular maintenance and inspections of fire exit doors are essential to ensure their proper functioning. This includes checking the integrity of the door, hinges, locks, and panic bars. Any defects or issues should be promptly addressed and repaired.

Evacuation Plan: Businesses are required to have an evacuation plan as well as their fire risk assessment in place that includes clear instructions on the use of fire exit doors and the designated evacuation routes. Employees should be trained on emergency procedures and familiare with the location of fire exit doors.

Compliance with Building Regulations: Fire exit doors must comply with relevant building regulations, such as the Building Regulations 2010 and the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. These regulations provide detailed requirements for fire safety measures in buildings.

Fire Doors and Fire Exit Doors – a Key Difference

Emergency Exit, Fire Exit Doors…however you term them it is important that you should realise they are different to fire doors.

Fire doors are important too. These are fire resistant doors that are incorporated into a building with the goal of suppressing fire and stopping it from spreading. They are fire rated so that they can withstand heat and fire for a certain amount of time, helping people to escape the building and for emergency services to attend.

How Many Fire Exits Do I Need?

In a building where there are up to 60 persons such as a small shop or cafe, just one fire exit is needed, for up to 600 persons then two fire exits are needed and if there is a building with more than 600 people there must be at least three. Your fire risk assessment should account for the fire exits and escape routes.

Conclusion

Emergency exits in the event of a fire are crucial for the safety of your employees, and the avoidance of disaster.

Robinsons Facilities Services can advice on fire safety and fire equipment maintenance in Yorkshire, as well as a wide range of other fire safety services.

Working across Yorkshire, we cover North YorkshireWest YorkshireEast Yorkshire and South Yorkshire and offer a fast, efficient response time to all breakdowns and repairs. Contact us today for all plannedreactive maintenance or emergency call out. Call 01423 226578 or get in touch to see how Robinsons Facilities Services can help.

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