Skip to main content

Thumb Turn Locks: A Practical Guide for holiday home owners (and anyone else)

As a holiday homeowner the safety of your guests will be paramount you want them to have a great time and you want them to have a safe time. When it comes to fire safety, small details can make a significant difference. To be able to open a final exit door easily is a requirement for sleeping accommodation. 

Considering the appropriate means of escape is a fundamental part of any holiday home fire risk assessment.

The scenario

Most people have a night time routine which often involves locking all doors, and in a significant number of cases removing the key to a regular spot nearby.  It becomes an automatic process.

So imaging waking in the middle of the night, in an unfamiliar place, disorientated from waking suddenly to a screeching smoke alarm, maybe impaired by a few whisky’s (we are in Scotland after all).  You open the bedroom door and can smell the smoke; adrenaline surges and you dash down stairs for the front door.  It’s locked and there’s no key, you can’t remember where you put it.  You do not want to go back up those stairs.

In an emergency every second counts.

What is a thumb turn lock?

Thumb turn locks are a type of door lock that can be easily operated with a simple turn of the thumb, eliminating the need for a key. Very similar to the old yale locks, without the hazard of locking you out. 

Locks with keys can pose a challenge during emergency evacuations, as finding and inserting a key may take precious time.  Hands shake with adrenaline and panic.  Thumb turn locks provide a quick and hassle-free exit. With a simple turn of the thumb, people can swiftly unlock doors and make their way to safety.

Thumb turn locks are user-friendly, making them particularly beneficial for children, the elderly, and individuals with mobility issues.

On which doors should I install thumb locks?

The most important door to have a thumb lock installed is the one nearest to the escape route from each of the bedrooms.  In a simple house layout this would usually mean the front door.  In some properties the layout is more complex and more doors may need consideration. The benchmark standard is to have a similar lock on both front and rear doors.

Installation and cost

Thumb turn locks are relatively easy to install and can be retrofitted to existing doors.  There are several types which often mean just the barrel requires changing or maybe a separate lock from the handle.  It does not take long, a good handyperson can fit them, and a new door is not required.

Door requiring key to open


Popular posts from this blog

EICR’s & Electrical Installation Certificates for Short Term Lets

What is an EICR? Electrical Installation Condition Report is an electrical safety certificate to show that all the fixed electrical equipment that is supplied through the electricity meter has been tested.  It’s basically the hard wired system through your property. Consumer board This is different from Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) which covers portable equipment and appliances such as washing machines, hairdryers, kettles and tv’s, and will be covered in a different blog post. Do Short Term Lets need an EICR? In short yes, Scotland is the only part of the UK where an EICR is mandatory for any short term let property.  Why do we need a certificate? Faulty electrical installations can cause electric shocks and fires by generating high temperatures. The risk of fire and shock can be reduced by ensuring the electrical installations and appliances are safe. The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service figures for 2022 – 2023 show that 12% of accidental house fires and 6% of deaths are a resul

Furniture and Fire Regulations

Furniture is not just about aesthetics and comfort; it also plays a crucial role in safety, particularly concerning fire hazards. When furniture catches fire, it can have devastating consequences. The materials commonly found in furniture, such as upholstery foam, wood, and synthetic fabrics, are highly flammable and can ignite quickly. Once ignited, the fire can spread rapidly, producing toxic smoke and gases that pose a serious threat to occupants. In addition to the immediate danger to human life, furniture fires can also result in extensive property damage. Moreover, the toxic fumes released during combustion can impair visibility and hinder escape efforts, making it challenging for individuals to evacuate safely. Legislation and labelling.  In the UK, furniture must meet specific flammability standards outlined in the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 (amended) which significantly reduce the speed and which furniture will ignite and flames spread. All furn

Fire Doors - The basics

  A closed door can play a major role in preventing the spread of fire, smoke and hot gasses, but doors are not all equal with some made of flimsy egg box constructions, or single panel wood, others with standard glass.   What is a fire door? Purpose made certified Fire doors are designed to resist fire and prevent the passage of smoke and hot gasses for a designated period of time.   Delaying the spread of fire can enable people to escape a building safely and compartmentalise a higher risk area. Doors can be made of steel, wood or glass, providing they are made to the appropriate standard. These are different from final fire exit doors and are found internally in a building. How do I know if it’s a fire door? Every fire door will have a label, often on the top edge of the door or along the hinge side.   The label will state the fire resistance rating, usually FD30 (30 minutes), FD60 (60 minutes), or even FD 90 & 120. Other features include, intumescent strips and cold smo