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Free Flow And Fire Doors


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Hi all, wondering if someone can answer this query that came up today.

 

We have an internal fire door with a sign on it saying 'keep shut'. Now that we have free flow this has to be hooked open or the children can't free flow properly, as it is in the corridor which leads to the outdoor area. Can anyone tell me if it is okay to keep this door and the outside door hooked open during free flow?

 

Also, any tips as to what to do as it gets colder - do people still keep their external doors open? If we don't open it, the children probably won't even think to go outside. And the staff are already starting to complain in preparation for being asked to go out in the winter months!!

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We use our fire door to get out into the playground and whilst the weather is with us it is kept open. I guess the fire brigade would be the best people to answer this one.

 

Like you some of my staff team are practicing the winter wingeing already, however they have been warned that they are going out like it or not and to dress appropriately. I don't think we will be leaving the door open though as we will loose all our heat in a minute.

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Hi

 

We had a visit from our fire officer once and we had an internal fire door pinned open.....he said that was OK as we were there - does that make sense?

 

In other words....he meant they must be closed when the building is unoccupied to prevent the risk of fire spreading.....

 

Can't answer your second point because we are unable to provide freeflow :o

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I like the sound of that - kind of a cross between a giant cat flap and an insect screen?

 

I will investigate and report back if I find out anything useful.

 

Thanks for the replies. I'm determined that the door to the outside should stay open, luckily we don't pay the heating bills :o

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We also have our fire door hooked open to go outside - we did when Ofsted were in and they didn't say anything and our fire officer saw it and didn't comment either.

 

It's been lovely weather since we went back and having the doors open has been fine but today we had a reality check it's been quite cold and staff are already putting on their layers!

 

Does anyone else have the issue that absolutely nothing gets played with indoors if the weather is fine? and you just sigh at all the hard work it took to set up the room, for nobody!

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we put a towel over the top of our door - this means the door can shut almost to but doesn't catch shut - children can come and go easily, stops too much cold air coming in and is enough of a gap that fingers don't get caught.

 

have to say i've enjoyed the sessions they've all wanted to be outside - less mayhem inside whilst we're teaching new ones how to accesss equipment appropriately and tidy it away after themselves!

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Does anyone else have the issue that absolutely nothing gets played with indoors if the weather is fine? and you just sigh at all the hard work it took to set up the room, for nobody!

 

 

i think this issue is a very hard one to resolve. In the summer we didn't set up the hall completely, just parts of it, and hoped that Mrs. O didn't turn up! There are not enough hours in the day or staff on hand to set up a hall and an outside area in our packaway nursery, to the degree that we would like to, we have to make compromises.

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Panders - I'm so glad someone else is the same it's one or the other with us too - indoors fab, outdoors not so good and vice versa. We too are a pack away setting and as we all have children to take to school before, 25mins is all we have to get everything out.

Also maintaining ratios is still difficult when you are free flowing, should that 1 child decide they want to go indoors!

Life's never easy is it!

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We are pack away so similar issues. What I've suggested staff do is to involve the children much more in the decision making process first thing in the morning. They set up a few activities, and then as the children arrive they take them supervised to the cupboard to make choices of what to bring out. It takes a bit of nerve to leave the hall quite empty but I think it makes more sense. Yesterday they were all busy playing inside until I insisted that the door was hooked open and then a mass exodus to the outdoors! I think the children were happier about this than the staff though :o

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We use these heavy duty PVC curtains (butcher's curtains) which are hooked onto the top of the door frame and they worked fine last winter. Our door to the playground is also a fire door and we leave it open all the time. It's the only safe way out to the playground other than the main door which opens into a carpark. We've never been told we shouldn't.

 

Staff take turns outside and maybe we're lucky but we never have complaints!! (touch wood).

 

I take every opportunity to be outside as I'm going through the 'hot flush' stage of life and it's such a relief!! xD:(:o

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Hi all, wondering if someone can answer this query that came up today.

 

We have an internal fire door with a sign on it saying 'keep shut'. Now that we have free flow this has to be hooked open or the children can't free flow properly, as it is in the corridor which leads to the outdoor area. Can anyone tell me if it is okay to keep this door and the outside door hooked open during free flow?

 

I think you need to talk to your insurers and the local fire officer about pegging an internal fire door open. External fire exit doors can be left open safely because they are about escape routes. Internal fire doors are there to stop the spread of fire and cannot do that if they are pegged open.

 

When I worked for a housing association it was made very clear that internal fire door HAVE to be kept shut or our insurance would be invalidated. The only way round it was automatic closers connected to the fire alarm system.

 

Obviously the children's safety is even more important than the insurance cover so I would definitely get some professional advice.

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Well done with curtain links - I am pricing up my this year's capital access grant bid so I may well be adding these.

 

I know what you are saying about setting up inside only to find everyone out though - it's a bit of a balancing act to say the least.

 

My deputy is always saying we should just put out the tables and let the children choose so we are working our way through photographing everything by genre and are going to try it! Who knows what "O" will say.

 

It is however almost impossible to do it all in the 2.5 hours wouldn't you say :o

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Thanks to everyone for their advice, especially upsy daisy, for the bit on fire doors. I've now spoken to the fire officer and he is going to come in and help us resolve our problem. Apparently there are automatic closers that you can use called fire door retainers, he's going to work out the best solution with us.

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might sound a bit harsh but tough, going outside is part of your pre-school regime and therefore your staff must meet the needs of the pre-school

 

they need to come prepared, my staff know that we go out regardless , gale force winds is the only thing that stops us as it could be a safety issue

 

my staff have wellies, we bought them waterproof bottoms ( to use in forest school as well as the setting), some of them may be would prefer to be in but it is not an option and on the whole they get on with it

they can be out for nearly 2 1/2 hours if it is there turn to set up outside

 

the children love being outside and benefits far out wat the grumbles

 

so stick with it :o

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I couldn't agree more Suer.

 

It may be hard for practitioners to accept if they have been around for a while and did not work outside when they started but it is a vital part of the job we do.

 

I feel strongly that those staff who feel most comfortable outside are those who are most actively involved in the children's learning experiences. We all feel the cold more when we are standing still watching.

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Thanks Suer and upsydaisy, you're right I will have to put my foot down. I've already had a couple of 'why don't we just shut the door' type comments (not from our leader) so I guess we will have to stick to our guns.

 

My leader is out one day a week at college and last week I just happened to pass by a bit later in the morning and the door was firmly closed. Needless to say I rang the bell and told them it was time to hook it open. Their reply was that the children were happily playing inside and 'didn't seem to want' to go outside. When I went past 10 minutes later they had all decamped to the outdoors!!

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Well it looks like you might have a bit of educating the adults to do there! Keep at it and they'll get used to the idea (and start wearing warmer clothes!).

 

If you really struggle you could go the whole way and insist that they move all activities outside for a day, snacks and everything. If they have to be outside all day they won't be looking for excuses to shut the dorr and stay in, they'll just be getting on with it.

 

That might show them how much you can achieve outside and change attitudes a little.

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Hi there

 

We have some stoppers on our internal fire doors which automatically retract and close the doors if the fire alarm goes off. They aren't connected into the fire alarm but react to loud noise - sometimes the children set them off when they play firemen etc! They take batteries by the way.

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I am kinda thinking that we will do a morning outside and not set up inside and spend the whole morning out side, we do when we are at forest schoola nd the children love it

 

a little while ago on teacher tv there were some programmes on the Norway forsest schools if you get the chance what them they were very inspirational

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