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Today’s Wordless Wednesday photos are the kind of photos that give me chills. Imagine that you are moving your mom into an assisted living facility, and you notice that the door closer on every fire-rated apartment entrance door has been disconnected and the arm taped to the door. The doors are no longer self-closing, even though that is required by code. You mention it to someone from the facility and they say that the residents like to keep their doors open and that it also allows staff to reach the residents more quickly.
If you’ve been reading iDigHardware for a while, you might remember the posts about the Rosepark Care Home in Scotland, where 14 residents died during a fire. Some of the door closers had been purposely deactivated for exactly the same reasons as this assisted living located in the Southwest US. From the transcript of the inquiry into the Rosepark fire:
“Mr McNeilly said: ‘If a fire develops in one of those rooms that goes undetected, it could easily leave the room and go into the common escape area, which in turn puts all the other rooms at risk in that corridor. So the most important thing in that area is to keep the doors closed.’
Failing to do so could allow smoke and flames to ‘overwhelm’ the corridor, he said, jeopardizing an escape route which the other residents in that area of the home would rely on.
But last week, the inquiry heard that safety closure arms had been removed or disconnected from at least nine residents’ bedroom doors on the ground and lower floors.
Joseph Clark, Rosepark’s former general maintenance manager, said he had done so at the request of relatives, who complained that the heavy fire doors limited the ‘independence’ of some elderly and disabled residents, who would struggle to open them on their own.”