Fire doors? A doors a door isn’t it? Any door will offer some fire protection, won't it?
So what’s so special about fire doors? A doors a door isn’t it? Any door will offer some fire protection wouldn’t it?
These are regular comments we hear on fire safety visits, both are true to a certain degree but in the event of a fire a standard door in fact would offer very little protection.
The right door set, correctly installed, used, inspected regularly and maintained where necessary will restrict a fire from spreading,A containing it within one area of a building whilst also reducing from flow of smoke. Fire doors save live and reduce the consequences of a fire.
A fire door set comprise of the fire rated door, fire rated frame, fire rated hinges, fired rate handles, self-closing device and signage. A fire doors reliability to function is based on the whole door units safety features working together. If one of these elements fails or is installed incorrectly it can compromise the effectiveness of the door.
The door should be a fire rated fire door which has manufacturer’s markings identifying its conformity. This shows that the manufacturer’s products have undergone independent testing and offer in minimum resistance to fire of at least 30 minutes.
The correct frame should be used to ensure the door remains in place and secure when placed under fire conditions. Colds smoke seals may be fitted to the frame perimeter to prevent poisoning smoke spreading and maintains escape routes passable.
Intumescent seals are fitted around the door, these expand under heat and create a seal between the door and its frame. This again restricts the spread of fire and smoke.
Handles and locks should also be fire rated along with any glazing used. These are made from tested components that don’t affect the integrity of the door.
Fire rated hinges should be used on fire doors, these products are tested to ensure their reliability within a fire. Generally 3 hinges are used to support the weight of the door and to maintain a secure fit in the event of a fire.
Self-closing devices should also be fitted, the purpose of all the measures taken above are to prevent any gaps between the door/frame/attached wall. If the door can be left open in anyway it defeats the objectives.
Signage is required both sides of the door to act as a reminder that this door is a fire door and to use it in such way. Signage may say for example “fire door, keep shut”.
It is for these reasons fire doors and their up keep is a fundamental part of any premises fire safety strategy. The right door can certainly saves lives and reduce the devastation a fire can cause. The following images are examples of how fires have done exactly this.