Any building that requires fire doors as standard, does so because of the strict fire regulations and health and safety standards that are implemented for that specific industry or sector. Fire doors are a requirement within many residential and commercial buildings, in certain types of industrial settings and healthcare institutions. Good fire doors must be able to withstand fire, heat and smoke for at least 30-minutes in most cases. This is why it is so important that there is a regular policy and process to check fire doors and make sure that any faults are picked up and repaired, that the doors are maintained and that any person in that space on a regular basis, whether living or working there, has an understanding of the important of, and how to use, fire doors. This all begins with the choice of fire door supplier.
Fire doors are important because they restrict fire and smoke, compartmentalising buildings when it is needed but also allowing a free flow of foot traffic through a building when things are safe. When closed (whether automatically or in person), the fire door provides that much needed barrier and there are different standards of fire door that are required for different locations throughout a building. FD30 and FD60 fire doors offer 30 minutes and 60 minutes of fire protection, although there are fire doors with higher levels of protection available and you should speak to your fire door supplier if this is something that you need.
What are the different checks that need to be made on a fire door when installed, but also when conducting regular fire safety checks each year?
Check the sealing – There should be an intumescent strip that is fitted into the frame and is designed to expand if a fire breaks out. It holds the door in position, stopping the fire from spreading in that direction. There should be a gap between the door and the frame of no more than 3mm to allow for this strip.
The closing system – Fire doors should remain closed at all times, unless there is a real need to keep them open (at which point they must have a fully functioning automatic release that closes the door over upon a fire alarm being activated.
Hinges – A fire door should always have three hinges, to help the door stay in position and to not break away in the event of a fire.
Signage – There should be clear signage on both sides of a fire door, stating “fire door keep shut” for all to easily follow.
If you are the person responsible for the fire safety risk assessments and fire safety management in a building, whether residential or commercial, it is important that you have a full plan in place that includes the regular inspection of any fire doors that are present in the building. Fire doors are so important at providing effective compartmentalisation of a building, ensuring that should a fire break out, that there is time for a safe and speedy escape from other parts of the building, before fire and smoke can spread, causing injury and potential fatalities. Without proper fire safety implementation there can be deadly consequences, so you really need to be on top of everything.