The importance of fire doors in an emergency

Fire doors are an essential part of the fire safety protocol in many buildings and form an important part of any passive fire protection strategy. However, it’s important that you ensure they work correctly in order to be fully effective.

What does a fire door do?

Fire doors serve a number of purposes, such as protecting escape routes on stairs and corridors, slowing the spread of a fire, separation fire hazards and providing places of relative safety. A fire door can give people valuable time to evacuate in the event of an emergency and prevent a fire altogether by ensuring hazards, such as an ignition point and potential fuel source can’t come into contact.

A 5-step check for fire doors

This simple 5-step check should tell you if your fire doors are up to standard:

  1. Check it for certification – There should be a label on top (or sometimes on the side of the door) to show it’s a certified fire door. If there isn’t, the door might need replacing and should be reported to whoever is in charge of the buildings fire safety.
  2. Measure the gaps – The gaps around a fire door should be consistently less than 4mm (the bottom can be slightly larger). You can use a £1 coin to test this which is around 3mm.
  3. Assess the seals – The intumescent seals around a fire door are paramount to ensuring its fire safety if there isn’t one or it’s damaged it could be compromised. Report any damaged or missing seals.
  4. Does it fully close? – Open the door and let it close on its own. If it doesn’t close all the way by itself then it’s not likely to be helpful in the event of a fire. If it sticks even by a few centimetres then it could be compromised.
  5. Check the hinges – If the hinges aren’t firmly fixed or have missing/broken screws then the integrity of the door could be compromised and require maintenance. Valuable time can be saved with properly maintained hinges.

Fire doors – what not to do

Like any piece of fire safety equipment, a fire door should be installed by a qualified technician. They’re not like normal doors and if installed like one can be useless in the event of a fire. Similarly, you should not alter your fire door in any way, such as cutting vision holes or patching up if broken, once compromised it may need replacing.

You should never disconnect the fire door closer. It’s essential to the integrity of the door that it’s closed in the event of a fire. Also, ensure that the door has not been propped open or blocked, whether on purpose or inadvertently.

Walker Fire can help

Call us on 0800 731 3630 or email uk@walkerfire.com to arrange a free site survey and receive a no obligation quote for your business’s premises.

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