Fire Risk Assessment

Door locks, what does the Government Guidance say?

We have already established in Fire Risk Assessment Basics that people need to be able to escape quickly from a property in the event of a fire.

On page 15 of Do you have Paying Guests? it clearly states, 'Exit doors, such as the front or back door, should always be easy to unlock and must not need a key to unlock from the inside. A simple Yale-type latch or thumb turn is usually good enough'.

Door locks

This makes perfect sense. If locks are fitted that have removable keys on the inside, then there is a very real risk that people will become trapped in the event of a fire. Imagine being woken up in the middle of the night by the smoke alarm, in a house that is gradually filling with smoke only to have to search around (possibly in the dark) to find the key that was used to lock up and then put on the shelf or worktop or somewhere else.

Changing door locks is easy and inexpensive and the right door locks coupled with an up-to-date smoke alarm system will greatly improve the fire safety of your guests.

What locks are suitable?

Yale type night latches are fine and are typically found on wooden doors.

Yale Lock

Euro cylinders with a thumb-turn on the inside are fine and are easily fitted to uPVC doors.

Euro lock plastic

Euro compatible mortice locks and handles with the correct Euro cylinder are a great way to make wooden doors safer.

Euro lock wooden

What locks are not suitable?

Mortice locks typically fitted to wooden doors.

Mortice wooden

Euro cylinders which have a key on the inside and are typically fitted to uPVC or Aluminium doors.

Patio doors with keys

The picture below shows a fairly common situation on wooden doors where they have both a Yale and Mortice type lock. The mortice lock could either be removed or blanked off so that it can't be used.

Yale and Mortice

Think about all the doors, not just some of them

Most properties will have just a front and back door. Other larger places may have other exits as well. French windows onto a patio or balcony for example. It makes sense that all doors be fitted with easy to open locks because the more possible emergency exit routes there are the better.

Signage for less obvious escape routes

In most holiday cottages that are similar to family homes, the escape routes will be obvious to the occupants. The front door and the back door. Where there are other less obvious escape routes, these can be marked with Fire Exit signs. It is also a good idea to include a floor plan in welcome folders showing the escape routes from the property.