There may be a long, hard winter ahead. Amid fears that the UK is heading for a season of ‘super colds’, flu and increase in COVID transmission, the NHS has launched a campaign to encourage people to get vaccinated to boost their immunity. But vaccines are only part of the solution – they can only counter expected strains of diseases that can mutate and strike when our immunity is at its lowest.

The hard cold fact of the winter season is that when the temperatures drop, we head indoors. We commune with others for longer, often without the benefit of natural ventilation. We are in the vicinity of airborne contagion and we frequently touch things that others have – passing on bugs as consequence.

So, what can we, as specifiers, developers and facilities managers, do to stop the spread? As with smart buildings, we must consider how our environments will be used and plan to protect – down to the smallest detail.

Buildings that are in public use need to be carefully considered. Hospitals, care homes, nurseries, schools and colleges accommodate the sick and vulnerable. Other purpose-built facilities will see large congregations: retail, hospitality, leisure and fitness, also need to think about the visitor ‘journey’ as well as travel: trains, buses and planes and their passenger hubs.

Minimising risk reduces opportunities for infection and with this in mind, natural ventilation, contact and cleaning are key.

At Strand Hardware, we work with selected distributors who work closely within specialist sectors. For 30 years, we have listened and worked with them to source, obtain and modify suitable architectural ironmongery to meet exacting standards.

Combining durability with resilience, our range of door and window hardware, control systems and emergency/panic hardware is designed for longevity.

Anti-bacterial coatings can be applied to many of our products – an essential method of defence particularly when used in buildings within the health and care sectors where infection can be prevalent and patients more vulnerable.

We open windows and walk through doors many, many times throughout the day – so frequently that we become oblivious to the contact we may have.

A rigorous cleaning regime is essential but the architecture of a single door, with its intricate fixed and moving parts, can be an obvious trap for dirt and germs. Naturally, there will be a focus on minimising contact transmission by cleaning handles, fingerplates and other door architecture that has frequent use, but what about those all-important fingerguards and drop seals?

As the UK stockist for Athmer finger protection, we know that our products have undergone rigorous testing using a range of cleaning agents.

Extensively tested using the most common cleaning agents and disinfectants from the RKI/VAH list. They were examined for possible reactions and resistance to:

  • Bacillol AF
  • Incidin +
  • Trichlorol
  • Optisept
  • Milk of lime
  • Terralin
  • Helipur

The tests found little or no reaction to the 100% pure solutions, with only slight discolouration of fabric due to deposits caused by evaporation of the cleaning products. No negative impact was caused to the durability or function of the components.

Catherine Franks, Managing Director of Strand Hardware, says: “Athmer finger guards offer a quality product range which is durable and reliable, preventing injuries by eliminating the danger of accidental finger entrapment between the closing edges of the door leaf and the door frame. Specifiers should choose products that have been tested to BS8613 as well as being tested with cleaning products.”