Fire Doors – the silent lifesaver
Fire doors play a key role in the fire safety strategy in any building, preventing the rapid spread of smoke and fire and thereby protecting lives and property.
In a recent fire, one of our clients witnessed the power of a fire door to contain a fire within the room of origin, which greatly reduced the smoke damage to the property, as well as ensuring that all occupants were able to evacuate the building in complete safety. The primary purpose of fire doors in most commercial premises is to ensure that escape routes are protected, giving time for people to escape. In certain instances, they also protect the occupants of a room where it is not possible for someone to evacuate the premises unassisted.
Damage to fire doors will seriously compromise their efficiency, as well as the fitting of non-specified locks, letter boxes, and apertures. In addition, it is not advisable to wedge doors open – opt for swing-free closers that allow the doors to be kept open, but close automatically when the fire alarm system is activated.
Checking fire doors
It is important that fire doors are maintained in good working order, and the key points to check are as follows:
- Check that the door is closing ‘to latch’ automatically: Open the door halfway and let it go – it should close to latch. Sometimes the door closer will require adjusting to ensure that this happens.
- Ensure that the smoke seals are in place and undamaged. Over time these can become worn or even over-painted.
- Check that there are no penetrations or damage to the door.
- Check that the 3 hinges are secure and in good condition.
- Check the gaps between the door and frame – there should be less than 4mm at the top and sides, and less than 8mm at the bottom of the door.
- Check the certification – all fire doors will have a plug or label on the top (or side) to indicate they are a fully certified fire door.
Follow this link to see fire doors under test: http://www.bwfcertifire.org.uk/assets/with20bwf-sd.mp4