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If the points below do not answer your query please do not hesitate to contact us or send your question to

General questions

Q: Must I have closers on bedroom doors in a care/nursing home?
A: In almost all cases, yes. Any bedroom door leading out to a common means of escape risks compromising the escape route in the event of fire. See page 37 of HM Government Guide for Fire Safety in Residential Care for a diagram showing typical layouts of buildings and self closing doors.

If you are considering using self contained, battery powered devices as an alternative to wired systems such as Holdfire, note that the Guidance stipulates that;

"Self-contained devices that are not connected directly to a fire alarm system may be acceptable where a site specific risk assessment can show that they are appropriate. Such devices are unlikely to be suitable for use on doors protecting single stairways or other critical means of escape" (Page 126)

If you require further guidance, be aware that many fire "consultancies" are offering indifferent advice to care home managers on the impact of the Regulatory changes and trying to sell risk assessments.

For your peace of mind, Holdfire is pleased to recommend Fireclipse Associates as a reputable company with highly qualified consultants that can provide advice or complete fire risk assessments on your behalf.
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Q: is any type of door closer acceptable?
A: No, door closers must comply to BS EN 1154 with the 2002 amendment that makes provision for DDA access requirements specified in Document M of the Building Regulations. Furthermore, any fire door closer must be of a minimum power size 3. Many types of door closer are not compliant with this requirement including the Perkotm shown opposite. If your closers are not compliant or need replacement, you should consider the Carefree system.
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Q: Do I need a particular noise level to activate either of the Holdfire systems?
A: No. Both Carefree and the  systems are properly connected into the fire alarm system to create a highly reliable, failsafe infrastructure that meets the most demanding requirements of BS 7273, Category A . This is not possible with sound activated devices.
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Q: You claim that Holdfire systems work out cheaper over 10 years than self contained, battery powered devices; why is this?
A: Carefree systems have an anticipated life well in excess of 10 years and are guaranteed for 2 years. Furthermore there are no on-going maintenance costs. In comparison to an self contained, battery powered device, if you consider how many units you would need per door over 10 years and add the cost of batteries, carpet damage and door warping (see below) even the top of the range Carefree Plus system works out cheaper per door.
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Q: Hold open devices can sometimes cause doors to twist and permanently warp. Is this true of Holdfire systems?
A: No. Carefree removes all the closing forces from the door so there is no twisting effect.
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Q: Can Holdfire systems work with any fire alarm system?
A: Almost all fire alarm systems have provisions for switching external devices such as door systems. Resolving any interface issues and determining the best method of connection is part of our installation process.
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Q: Can my local electricians fit the system?
A: Yes, but the fitting of these systems is quite specialist and it is unlikely your electricians will have the necessary experience or be familiar with BS 7273 the new requirement for door release mechanisms. Be aware that that many will attempt to cut costs by connecting to sounder/bell circuits and/or use inappropriate cables. Such installations will not meet the required British Standards or perform correctly when they are most needed.
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Q: You claim the installation is usually concealed, what about the wiring?
A: The system runs on a very low current and voltage allowing Holdfire to develop and use its own miniature wiring system for installations. We pride ourselves on never leaving any visible surface wiring. In a retrofit installation for example, we will often conceal our tiny wires behind architraves and behind or under skirting boards. It might make our installation service a little more expensive but endless runs of surface wiring and trunking can really spoil the look of a home.
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Q: Can the doors be arranged to automatically close at a set time each night?
A: Yes, this is sometimes requested by Fire & Rescue services. If required, a time switch is simply fitted as part of the installation to release the doors at a preset time.
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Q: What happens if the power fails?
A: Holdfire systems are designed to be completely failsafe. If the power fails, a cable breaks or a connection fails, the doors will close. This is to ensure that if a fire burns through and compromises your power or fire alarm system, the doors will still be released to contain the fire.
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Q: Why do you recommend testing the system every week?
A: This is standard practice for fire alarm systems and is a good practice to adopt. Where doors are being held open against the force of an existing closer, it allows the door closers to "relax" and maintain the efficiency of the springs in the closing mechanisms.
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Carefree Questions

Q: If the door is swing free, how is it manually closed?
A: This is the whole point of Carefree, which removes all the closing forces from the door. In normal operation the door is free to move like any door in your own house. To close it you simply push it closed; to move it out the way simply push it away. It is only when the fire alarm activates, the closer engages to close the door.
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Q: When the alarms go off, won’t people get trapped/injured by the doors?
A: Carefree can be adjusted so that the door closes very slowly so that residents are not knocked over and have time to get safely out of the way.
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Q: When the door is released can it be opened again?
A: When the fire alarm activates, Carefree returns to being a normal door closer. So if the door is in the closed position under a fire condition, it can be opened like any other door fitted with a standard door closer.
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Q: How is the system reset once the fire alarm is reset?
A: If installed correctly to BS 7273, Carefree will continue to operate as a normal door closer until the fire condition is cleared on the fire panel and the door has been opened to reset the mechanism.
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Q: You say Carefree can operate in swing free or hold open mode, how is this achieved?
A: Swing free or hold open function is selected by changing the position of a screw on the top of the unit.
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Q: If the door is in hold open mode, how is it manually closed?
A: In line with the Holdfire design philosophy, there is no need to operate any buttons, switches or plungers; the door is simply released by giving it a firm pull.
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Q: Will the system become active when the alarms are silenced?
A: BS 7373 requires that the doors do not become operational until the fire condition has been removed as opposed to the alarms merely being silenced. For this reason it is no longer acceptable to connect doors to bell/sounder circuits, they must be triggered from the fire alarm panel.
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Q: My doors open very tight to the adjacent wall. What other equipment is needed to fit Carefree on the other side of the door?
A: The slimline profile of Carefree means that only 50mm clearance is required between the door and adjoining wall. Should the gap be too small, each Carefree unit comes with all the fitments required to mount the unit on the front or back, left or right side of the door.
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Q: What maintenance is required?
A: Carefree is designed to be a highly reliable, low maintenance system. The only adjustment that might be required is to occasionally adjust the latching force if the door is not latching. Otherwise all maintenance is simply to replace any part that fails. We do recommend we perform an annual inspection and test to keep the certification current.
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Standards & Approvals

Q: To what standards do the systems conform?
A: Carefree has been fully tested to the European standard for hold-open devices, BS EN 1155* at Warrington Fire
Subject to the capabilities of the fire alarm panel our systems meet the requirements for all Categories within BS 7273 Part 4 (British Standard for actuation of release mechanisms for doors).

When installed by Holdfire, installations conform to BS 5839 Part 1 and Part 6, (Code of practice for fire alarm systems), BS 7273 Part 4 and BS 7671, (IEE Wiring regulations).
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Q: Does my installation need to be approved by the Fire Officer?
A: Carefree is tested to the relevant British Standards. If installed correctly it is a failsafe system and welcomed by Fire & Rescue Services. There is no requirement to obtain specific approval for the system but we recommend that the local fire officer is consulted on your plans. In Scotland, proprietors may need to obtain a building warrant to fit any systems to fire doors. We always welcome the opportunity to present to fire officers and we would be delighted consult with the local Fire & Rescue Service on your behalf.
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Q: Will connecting Holdfire to my Fire system invalidate my existing fire alarm maintenance contract?
A: No, Door Retainers Ltd provides a fire certificate for Holdfire as a subsystem of the main fire system. This places the responsibility for the Holdfire system with Door Retainers and absolves your fire system maintainer from any responsibilities in respect of the Holdfire subsystem. We are delighted to liaise with the existing maintainer if required.
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