When is a Fire Door Not a Fire Door?…….. Understanding the Importance of Fire Door Safety. Fire Door Safety Week
What is the purpose of a fire door?
Fire safety is a critical aspect of any building, and fire doors play a crucial role in preventing the spread of fire and smoke. However, many people are unaware of the potential risks associated with improperly installed or maintained fire doors. In recognition of National Fire Door Safety Week in the UK, it is essential to understand when a fire door is not just a fire door.
- Understanding Fire Door Regulations:
Fire doors are designed to withstand fire and smoke for a specific duration, allowing occupants to safely evacuate the premises and giving firefighters time to control the fire. In the UK, fire doors must comply with strict regulations, including BS 476 and BS EN 1634 standards.
- Incorrect Installation:
One of the most common reasons a fire door may not function as intended is incorrect installation. Fire doors must be installed by qualified professionals who understand the specific requirements, such as the correct type of hinges, intumescent seals, and door closers. Any deviation from the installation guidelines can compromise the door’s ability to contain fire and smoke.
- Lack of Regular Maintenance:
Fire doors are subject to wear and tear over time, especially in high-traffic areas. Regular maintenance is crucial to ensure the door’s components, such as seals, hinges, and latches, are functioning correctly. Neglecting maintenance can lead to compromised fire resistance, rendering the door ineffective in an emergency.
- Inadequate Seals and Gaps:
Fire doors rely on intumescent seals to expand under high temperatures, creating a barrier against smoke and fire. Over time, these seals can deteriorate or become damaged, compromising their effectiveness. Additionally, gaps between the door and frame or floor can allow smoke and fire to pass through, rendering the door ineffective.
- Misuse and Obstructions:
Fire doors should never be propped open or obstructed in any way. These actions can prevent the door from closing automatically during a fire, allowing smoke and flames to spread rapidly. It is crucial to educate building occupants about the importance of keeping fire doors closed at all times.
- Lack of Awareness and Training:
Many people are unaware of the importance of fire door safety or how to identify a properly functioning fire door. Raising awareness and providing training to building occupants, facility managers, and maintenance staff can significantly contribute to improving fire safety.
7. Who is the Responsible Person?
All business and commercial buildings are required by law to have a ‘Responsible Person’. You are the Responsible Person for fire safety if you are deemed to have control of the premises. For example, if you are:
- An employer
- The owner of the building
- The landlord of the building
- A facilities manager, building manager, managing agent, risk assessor or anyone else with control of the premises.
A fire door is not just a door; it is a critical component of fire safety in any building. Understanding the regulations, ensuring proper installation, conducting regular maintenance, and educating occupants are essential to ensure fire doors function as intended.
National Fire Door Safety Week serves as a reminder to prioritise fire door safety and take necessary steps to protect lives and property in the event of a fire.
In addition, it is important to note that annual fire door surveys are required to assess the condition and functionality of fire doors, identify any issues, and ensure compliance with regulations.
These surveys play a vital role in maintaining the effectiveness of fire doors and should be conducted by qualified professionals. By prioritizing fire door safety and conducting regular surveys, we can enhance fire safety measures and protect the well-being of all building occupants.
Take the first steps in securing the safety of those in your building by contacting our Fire Division now to get a quote for Fire Door Inspections /Surveys, Fire Door Maintenance or Fire Door Installation!
0800 080 3045