Dortek’s Guide to Fire Door Safety
Fire doors are one of the most critical elements of fire protection. They are used to provide compartmentation – in other words, containing fire and smoke for a period of time to allow people to be safely rescued and evacuated.
Fire doors are often the first line of defence in a fire and their correct specification, maintenance and management can be the difference between life and death for building occupants. Despite this, fire doors remain a significant area of neglect and are often the first thing to be downgraded in a specification or mismanaged throughout their service life.
A review undertaken by FDIS certificated fire door inspectors earlier this year revealed the extent of fire door failures being seen on site:
- Over 61% of fire doors inspected had problems with fire or smoke seals
- More than a third had incorrect signage
- 230 fire doors inspected had gaps bigger than 3mm between door and frame
- More than 20% had unsuitable hinges
- Almost 1 in 6 had damage to the door leaf.
(Source: FDIS 32)
The most common identified cause of death from a fire incident is being overcome by gas, smoke or toxic fumes. Suffering from the effects of gas or smoke also accounted for one-fifth of all non-fatal casualties in 2013-14. (Source: Gov.uk) This reinforces the importance of properly specified, installed and maintained fire doors with intumescent seals that keep smoke from leaking around the edges of a fire door.
Here’s our checklist to help you specify the correct fire doors and keep them in tip top condition:
- Always use a reputable and competent supplier – many people claim to make fire doors, but only a handful have a properly tested product which is proven to work in a fire.
- Ask whether the product has been fire tested and demand to see the documentation that proves it (e.g. fire certificate or label).
- Make sure test evidence is from a UKAS-accredited test centre
- Specifying fire doors with intumescent seals is crucial to prevent smoke inhalation in the event of a fire.
- It’s not just the door itself that matters. The frame and ironmongery is just as important – they all work together. Only buy exact compatible hardware and components from the same reputable supplier, also making sure that the ironmongery also meets the relevant fire test standard as well
- Correct installation is as important as buying the correct product – fire doors are a carefully engineered fire safety device which must be fitted correctly so make sure you use experienced installers from a reputable company.
- Ask for the fire door to be installed and then certified using a 3rd-party approved certification programme, such as BM Trada
- Fire doors should be checked and maintained regularly, to ensure that they still work and perform as intended
- Make sure you use an experienced door company to manage the servicing and maintenance of your fire doors, using a 3rd-party approved certification programme, such as BM Trada
- Only ever replace damaged components with like-for-like. A suitably trained individual should be responsible for this maintenance work.
For our full range of Fire doors and for additional information contact us or take a look at Fire Doors | Dortek