The connection between a fire door being completely free of any control, yet still connected to the fire alarm is a concept that can be difficult to explain. Especially to fitters and contractors who haven’t come across swing-free before. I find it best explained by using a door in your office that doesn’t have a door closer fitted (maybe a store cupboard), when you open the door and let go the door stays where you leave it. It can be left open or partially closed and it has no control. This is how it feels in swing-free mode – the door stays where you leave it – no self closing.
The problem with an e-mag closer being set up in ‘hold-open’ mode for bedroom and living rooms is that the physical ‘breakout’ can be highly disturbing to residents. Switches can be used but they are sometimes too high to reach or not accessible behind open doors. For example the nurse can’t reach the switch and close the ‘hold-open’ door physically when the resident is asleep – the loud breakout of a valve or magnet can wake the resident up.
This is particularly important with end-of-life care where peace and quiet is highly valued by families in grief. This is why the Responder 24 swing-free mode was designed to allow the carer to close all the bedroom doors quietly, whilst all the time connected to the fire alarm and perfectly safe.
On the other hand where doors don’t require shutting at night e.g. Corridors, Responder 24 can be set up in ‘hold-open’ mode to allow trolleys and stretchers free access to be wheeled through un-hindered without damaging door faces. This means for you as a buyer you don’t waste time deciding what closer to buy, this is both hold-open and swing-free in one box. The fitter decides on site what mode is best for the client and situation.
Loneliness is a big issue and the government has set on a loneliness minister – so allowing the bedroom doors to be open or partially open during the day is one way care homes can create an inclusive environment for residents – without waking them at night when the doors are closed quietly.