A fire door, usually found in offices, hotels, warehouses and other commercial buildings, is a primary function of  preventing or slowing down the spread of smoke and fire between compartments. Unlike regular doors, fire doors are manufactured to withstand high temperatures, whilst minimising the potentially hazardous physical effects of the fire. This makes them vital to protecting people in a fire, allowing them to get out of a building with efficient time.

What are fire door ratings?

Fire door rating is the ability to resist passage of fire and smoke to a specific period of time, this will either be 30 or 60 minutes depending on the rating.

Several factors contribute to the fire resistance of the door. The first factor is the materials used in the construction of the doors. All materials used in the door and frame have to be tested and proven to be fire resistant. Another factor is intumescent seals, when exposed to heat they will expand closing any gaps between the door and the frame helping prevent the spreading of smoke and fire. The type and quality of the hinges can impact performance of the door overall. Finally correct installation of the door is important to ensure that a fire door performs correctly. Gaps around the door and incorrect installation can compromise its effectiveness.

There are four types of fire doors, the first is single action doors which only swing one direction, usually found in corridors or stairwells. Next is double action doors that swing in both directions where there is a high volume of foot traffic. Fire rated glazed doors allows light to pass through them whilst fire and smoke curtains are installed in openings that cannot accommodate fire doors.

How often should fire doors be serviced?

In order to comply with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, having regular fire door inspections and maintenance is a key requirement for every business and property to which the Order applies to. BS9999 recommends six monthly inspections for any fire doors that are in constant use, such as hospitals, schools etc. It is the responsible person within the business or organisation that is responsible for ensuring adequate inspections are in place. Any repairs or replacements should be promptly to ensure that the door remains functional and able to provide the necessary protection in the event of a fire.