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What is a Fire Door?

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July 6, 2020

A fire door prevents the spread of fire and reduces the passage of smoke- for a certain time period- between different parts of a structure and enables safe exit from a building. Fire resistance rating of a fire door, specifies the time period, a fire door can prevent the spread of fire between different compartments of a building.

Fire doors are tested and certified in accredited laboratories that simulates the conditions of a real fire. According to the performance of the door during the test, the notified body (here the laboratory) issues a fire rating certificate for the tested door.

There are different norms that specifies the testing methods and acceptance criteria. The most accepted norms all over the world are EN and NFPA (National Fire Protection Association).

Dimak Fire Doors Panic Bar
Dimak Fire Doors Panic Bar

Simply, the fire doors save lives of people during a fire. Fire doors which have vital safety features can be a fine line between life and death. Moreover, as fire door stops the spread of fire, it also reduces the destructive economic affects of a fire.

Features of Fire Doors

There are several key features to look out for fire doors:

Fire doors are made up of various components:

  • Door Frame and Leaf (can be steel , wood or aluminium): Steel doors can withstand fire for longer periods therefore they have higher fire ratings compared to wood and aluminium doors.
  • Hinges: Metal hinges ensure that the door stays at the position connected to the frame during a fire
  • Accessories (lock, handle set and panic exit devices): Latch of the lock is a very important component as it keeps the door closed during the fire. Handle sets and panic exit devices enables safe exit of people from the building during a fire.
  • Closing Device: Fire doors should always be kept closed during a fire. A door closer or a spring hinge ensures that.
  • Intumescent Seals: Around the edges of the door will be the intumescent seal, which is designed to expand when temperatures reach beyond a specific limit to seal the gaps between the door and frame

The building owners or manager or people who are responsible for fire safety should find the Fire Door Check Guide below  invaluable.

  1. Check the Certification: You should look for a label or plug on top (or occasionally on the side) of the door. Without a certification mark, you cannot be sure that this really is a fire door.
  2. Check the Seals: Look for any intumescent seals around the door or frame. You should make sure that they are intact with no sign of damage. Be sure the seals will expand if they are in contact with heat and will stop the fire moving through the cracks. You can check the seals by looking at the edges of the door and frame.
  3. Check the Hinges: Make sure that all the hinges are firmly fixed with no missing or broken screws. Be sure the door has been properly maintained  and in the intensity of a fire will perform properly.
  4. Check the Proper Closing: Make sure that the door closes firmly onto the latch without sticking on the floor or the frame. A fire door only works when it is closed. A fire door is completely useless if it's wedged open or can't close fully. Failing for proper closing of fire doors can lead fatal cases.

This advice is simplified and for general purposes only. If in doubt, you should always refer to the documentation of the door, and if there is any concern, we recommend that someone competent is engaged to inspect the fire door.

We would like to finish this blog with a striking expert view.

Fire doors are a crucial first line of defence in many of these fires, and yet they remain a significant area of neglect. Fire doors are often the first thing to be downgraded in a specification, mismanaged throughout their service life, propped open, damaged and badly maintained.

Wish you all readers a healthy and safe life.

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