How the Coronavirus spreads and what to do about it is a leading talking point. Even among experts, conclusions vary, for example face masks either help or they make things worse when worn by the general population. Opinion is split on which. Is anyone apart from me old enough to remember Alf Garnet? Faced with any issue, he would have a definite opinion, always ridiculous and always backed by shouting “Stands to reeeeason, dunnit?”. What should we conclude without jumping to the wrong conclusions?
My attempts at wearing ‘street PPE’ have not gone well. I tried shopping with gloves on and within five minutes got into a tangle of glove, trolley, tin, phone, oops phone, should I touch it?, anyway, phone not working with glove so I can’t see list, oh hell!, gloves off and in pocket. That meant that I was later pleased to see an opinion in print that gloves while shopping make no sense if you want to prevent infection. Who knows?
This man was snapped in a supermarket waiting in the queue to pay. Even I didn’t get in this much of a tangle. From the same source, there is a picture of another man in a queue eating a packet of crisps with his gloves on. There is also a lady shopping wearing a mask and snorkel as protection. So much for staying safe!
So what can I say that is helpful? Stay two meters apart, don’t touch things that other people touch, and wash your hands properly and often. That’s all I know and it’s easier said than done.
At Fireco HQ, we dot our products around the building because we can. As the makers of Dorgard, and Freedor, we fitted one or other to most fire doors, keeping them open so that we could move about more freely. Only having done so did I realise the huge hygiene benefit of not having to touch doors as I walk around the building. When there is a fire alarm… well watch the video below and you’ll see.
Wedging fire doors open would be a solution if it were safe. I know that some people have a view that they can wedge doors because they have an army of crack fire wardens who will swing into action as soon as there is a fire and ensure correct closure. In my view, that falls into the category of “I smoke because my uncle smoked 60 a day and lived until he was ninety” – self delusion in other words. Real fires are terrifying and spread very quickly so what people do in a fire drill may be different to the real thing where smoke will spread fast through wedged open fire doors. “Like wildfire” is an expression with roots in reality.
As discussions start around schools going back, I think of the countless hands touching doors as they pass through, potentially leaving germs for others to pick up. Whilst the consequences for the young are less severe, they could become the vehicle for infecting their older relatives. From this link, the more mathematically minded can work out that children touching door handles in a large school is a very serious upward influence on the re-infection rate. There is no doubt that fitting fire door retainers is a really good way of reducing re-infection risks, lowering the magic r value that we all want to see as far below one as possible.
So, installers, caretakers, other decision makers, please give it some thought. Fit fire door retainers wherever fire doors are an infection risk. It makes sense to plan that work in whenever you have access to buildings while they are empty. Doesn’t that stand to reason?