Fatal flaw spotted--are fire door magnets reliable? Following a number of fire safety risk assessments and evacuation training exercises, the authors have observed that a worrying trend is developing in that many electro-magnetic fire door retainers are not working properly. Some, they claim, are not releasing at all in the event of an alarm activation.(EMRs)

ELECTRO-MAGNETIC RETAINERS (EMRs) have been around for some time now and were introduced to try and resolve the problem that is sometimes created by fire doors when they interrupt the free flow of the movement of people throughout a building. Also, they have the added feature of stopping these types of doors being illegally wedged open with all kinds of objects. Indeed, one of the ironies that of undertaking fire safety inspections is to find fire doors wedged open with fire extinguishers!

EMRs are designed to conform to BS5839 Part 3 and are 'hard wired' into the detection and alarm circuit. Simply put, when the alarm is sounded/activated, any EMRs fitted should disengage and the fire door that it is holding open is then free to close against the doorjamb by way of the self-dosing device that is fitted to the door. Because of this 'hard wired' element into the detection and alarm circuit, these types of devices have become familiar and accepted by fire engineers and fire brigades as part on an 'integrated' system that supposedly links a number of important elements of the fife safety detection and alarm systems together. …

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