Fire Door Safety Week marks 45 years for Geofire

As Fire Door Safety Week begins, UK manufacturer Geofire is celebrating 45 years in the fire industry.

The company began life designing and manufacturing electromagnets for use in fire industry products in 1972, before producing its own range of hard-wired, fire door holders in 1989.

Geofire has continued to grow through its focus on research and development and its ability to design, manufacture and test its products under one roof. This has allowed the business to achieve both the quality required in the industry and empower its engineers to design the next generation of fire products that meet customer’s changing requirements.

In 2013, as sales grew, Geofire relocated to its current purpose built factory and has continued to invest in the latest CNC machinery, automation and testing facilities to ensure it maintains the highest quality standards.

Geofire was first to market with both its wire-free technologies; the Salamander radio-controlled and Agrippa, ‘listen and learn’ technology, sound-activated products, which are mainly used to retrofit into existing buildings. Both brands are battery-powered but are used to serve users with different requirements.

Andy Collinson, CEO of Geofire, explains: “What makes Geofire different is that we are constantly developing our products in the lab to ensure we are always ahead of the game when it comes to fire door technology.

“The team is rightly proud of what has been achieved over the last 45 years and we all excited about the future. We won’t stop, continuous improvement is part of our business and we have some exciting projects in the pipeline.

Nick Goddard, Research and Development Manager who has been an employee since 1994, said: “We are lucky to have a team that is always thinking about the next innovation and of course a management team that invests for the future in our people and their skills, as well as machinery and our manufacturing capabilities.

“Wire-free technology is something we have worked on for a number of years and as we see the market for wire-free technology widen to countries across the world, there is no doubt, despite some scepticism originally, that this technology has begun to build up a reliable and credible reputation for fire protection, in a much easier way than ever before.”

Geofire’s Salamander radio system receives radio signals from a central controller linked to an existing fire panel. It is also specified to the highest fire safety standard in the UK; BS 7273-4 critical actuation (category A).

The Agrippa sound activated devices automatically close fire doors upon hearing the sound of the fire alarm. It is different to similar products on the market because of the intelligent technology used to ‘listen and learn’ the sound of the building’s specific fire alarm, rather than simply a loud noise.

Geofire is part of the British Engines Group, which has seven engineering businesses across the North East of England and offices in 16 other countries worldwide.

Geofire’s Salamander range provides fire door access solution for hospitals

Geofire has been awarded a ten year agreement to supply and install its Salamander range of fire door holders and closers into one of the largest hospital trusts in the UK.

The agreement will see the trusted system installed across the estate to legally hold open fire doors, closing the doors in the event of a fire to protect residents and staff.

Geofire was one of two companies in the industry to have its products put to the test by the trust’s Fire Safety Officer. After careful consideration, the radio controlled Salamander products were voted unanimously as the best/most appropriate by the trust’s expert panel.

Andy Collinson, CEO of Geofire said: “We are thrilled to have been awarded this agreement. This is a true reflection of how well the Salamander system works and can provide the perfect solution for hospitals and similar buildings. We look forward to working with the team on future properties and installations.”

Each Salamander device connects wirelessly to a mains-powered controller unit, which is easily connected to the existing fire alarm system. The system is suitable for a BS7273-4 critical actuation (category A) installation to ensure that fire doors will safely close in the event of a fault or fire. One controller unit can manage up to 99 fire door closers or fire door holders.

Geofire’s Salamander range of radio controlled fire door safety products are all battery-powered and wire-free, thus saving time, installation costs and disruption to a building’s fabric or occupants. Both the fire door holder and closer are fitted to the top of the door ensuring a hygienic installation and minimising damage to the units.

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Toolstation stocks Agrippa door holder

The Agrippa fire door holder is now available to buy instore and online at Toolstation.

Launched only four years ago by UK manufacturer Geofire, the battery-powered door retainer automatically releases the fire door in the event of the fire alarm sounding.

Unlike other wire-free fire door retainers, the Agrippa fire door holder records the sound of the fire alarm, storing the sound onto the device. If the building’s fire alarm sounds, the patented technology releases the door to prevent the spread of smoke, flames and toxic gases.

The sound activated, Agrippa fire door holder can now be bought at over 270 Toolstation branches, over the phone or online at Due to its wire-free installation, the holder can be fitted in just ten minutes and installed by anyone competent in DIY. Full installation guides and step-by-step videos are available online.

Toolstation is one of Britain’s fastest growing suppliers of tools, accessories and building supplies to the trade, home improvers and self-builders.

Andy Collinson, CEO of Geofire, said: “It’s great to see suppliers like Toolstation stocking the Agrippa fire door holder. The device provides a simple and compliant solution to holding open fire doors where a wedge is sometimes used.

“What’s more, the Agrippa holder uses our Geofire patented ‘listen and learn’ technology to record the sounds of the building’s specific fire alarm, so false activations from loud noises are eliminated.”

The Agrippa door holder has been installed into buildings including schools, care homes, hospitals, hotels and offices. Competitively priced and easy to install, the device is particularly useful in busy corridors to create free movement around the building. A chain keeper or floor mounted bracket can also be bought from Toolstation for non-standard installations.

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Are your fire doors safe and legal?

Nick Goddard, Research and Development Manager at Geofire has been in the fire safety industry for over 20 years. Here he talks about the importance of fire doors and the technology available to hold open fire doors safely and legally.

Fire doors are designed to prevent the spread of smoke, flames and toxic gases throughout a building in the event of a fire. However, when a fire door is held open, fire can quickly pass through the building, blocking escape routes and endangering lives.

Legally, a building’s fire doors must therefore be self-closing to ensure the door closes to act as a barrier that stops the fire from spreading.

Due to the level of protection a fire door provides, the placement and weight of the doors is often restrictive for example in a care home setting for residents, or for pupils in a school.

It is recognised that in these cases it is necessary to hold fire doors open for practical reasons. In this instance the fire door must have a device installed to release the door, so that is will close upon activation of the fire alarm system.

Holding open fire doors legally
Making sure fire doors are closed when the fire alarm sounds is extremely important. The British Standard 7273-4:2015 Code of Practice for the operation of fire protection measures – Part 4: actuation of release mechanisms for doors gives guidance on the installation, commissioning and maintenance of fire door holding systems. The system/hardware used to hold the doors open must also be approved to EN1155 standard.

Fire door retainers, also known as fire door holders, use a magnet to hold open heavy fire doors that will release in the event of a fire. Stand-alone door retainers are suitable for doors that already have a closing device fitted, however fire door closers with a built in hold open function are also available.

Depending on the installation and level of protection required, there are a variety of fire door retainers readily available which react to different triggers, in the event of a fire.

Hard wired fire door retainers
Hard wired fire door retainers are used all over the world and are ideal for new buildings as they have a direct wire connection to the building’s fire detection system. In a normal condition, power (usually 24 V dc) is supplied to the door retainers so that they can hold the doors in an open position. When a fire is detected by the fire panel, power is cut releasing the doors so that they can close. A fault in the wiring or power supply to the door retainers will cause them to fail safe and release the doors. Hard-wired fire door retainers are available in many shapes, sizes and finishes to suit all applications.

Radio controlled fire door retainers
Radio controlled fire door retainers are triggered wirelessly by radio waves from a controller connected to the existing fire panel or interface unit. As minimal wiring is needed, these are often used for fitting into large, existing buildings but still offer high levels of protection. These systems are installed by an approved, trained professional as a site survey has to be carried out prior to installation.

Sound activated fire door retainers
Sound activated fire door retainers react to the noise of the fire alarm and some devices can learn the sound of the building’s specific fire alarm, so they will only release when the alarm sounds. This is a cost effective solution as there is no need for wiring to a fire panel.

Sound activated fire door retainers are battery powered and can be installed quickly and easily. They are wire-free, so installing them won’t affect a building’s infrastructure.

Innovators of fire technology
Geofire has been designing and manufacturing electromagnet fire door holders and closers for 45 years from its factory in County Durham. Established in 1972, the company is still continuing to invest in research and development to be able to offer cost effective and innovative fire technology.

Andy Collinson, CEO at Geofire, said: “What makes Geofire stand out from the rest is that we design and manufacture all of our products in the UK, and we are very proud to be able to say that.

“We have a solution available for all installations, whether it is a new build using our hard-wired products, a noisy environment where radio would be more suitable (Salamander) or, where an acoustic solution is required to close the fire doors upon hearing the sound of the fire alarm (Agrippa).”
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Smart new door closer is clever innovation.

A new wire-free, digital fire door closer that uses unique, smart technology to ‘learn’ the sound of a specific fire alarm has been launched by fire technology specialists Geofire.

Easily retrofitted to any door, this intelligent wire-free closer learns the sound of your specific fire alarm, releasing the door in the event of a fire.  The closer is swing-free too, making the door responsively light to handle, and the simple answer to legally holding open fire doors to ease access.

The advanced digital technology that’s behind Geofire’s new Agrippa wire-free fire door closer uniquely ‘listens and learns’ the sound of a specific fire alarm. This ensures the closer’s releasing trigger reacts only to the precise sound of the fire alarm rather than extraneous loud noises, so false activations are virtually eliminated.

The Agrippa’s closing speed is adjustable, with a holding angle of 65-105 degrees, and it can be programmed for daily release. It requires only two C cell batteries (which last for 12 months). The closer is approved to EN1155, EN1154 and CE Marked, with additional features that include a seven segment LED display, manual release button and a low battery warning display.

The reaction from Installers, Specifiers and End Users has been very enthusiastic, seeing the Agrippa door closer as an exceptional product that combines innovation, functionality and good looks.

The Agrippa door closer is being successfully specified in a range of key sectors that includes care homes, schools, hospitals and hotels, where it is essential to have doors in an open position at certain times of the day to aid access, but equally as important to ensure the doors are closed in the event of a fire.

This advanced closer is part of the Agrippa Acoustic Products Range that includes an acoustically triggered fire door holder. UK manufacturer Geofire specialises in the manufacture of a wide range of electromagnetic door holders and other activation devices used widely as part of fire, security or ventilation systems.


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