Fire Door Safety: Crucial Checks

23.09.2018

Fire doors are a crucial component in a buildings compartmentalisation, critical in preventing the spread of fire and smoke to allow safe egress of the buildings occupants in the event of a fire emergency. If a fire door is propped open or doesn’t close securely, it cannot prevent the spread leading to extensive damage and more importantly, the possibility of injury and even loss of life.  

Following the Grenfell Tower tragedy, it was revealed that faulty fire doors, or in some cases the lack of door closers, had a detrimental effect on the spreading of fire. Within the building, only 17% of the fire doors had a door closer installed that was operating correctly.

The building didn’t meet adequate fire safety regulations, the compartments failed leading to the rapid spread of fire, of course with tragic  repercussions!

It’s vitally important to regularly check the operation and certification of fire doors as they play a critical role in a satisfactory fire safety procedure. In order to do this, there a number of simple checks you can follow.

Certification

When checking if a door is a fire door, it’s important to look for the correct signage and certification. Look out for an identification label on the top edge of the door or a colour coded plug inserted into the jamb that identifies the door as being certified. Remember, all ironmongery must be CE marked and compatible with the door leaf’s certification.

Certification is essential to a fire door as it assures the user of its quality, performance, design and manufacturing process. Without a certification mark, the door may not be a fire door at all.

Gaps and seals

Ensure that  the gaps between the door and its frame are minimal, and that the seals are intact and fitted correctly at the top and sides. This is vital for the prevention of toxic gases and smoke permeating through. You can use our fire door hardware checklist and gap tester if you’re unsure whether your doors comply.

The gap between the door and  frame should be no more than 3mm and a constant width. If the gap exceeds this measurement then the flames and smoke will fail to be compartmentalised, and the safety of occupants will not be guaranteed.

Operation

In the event of a fire, a fire door only works when it is closed. A door that is propped open or doesn’t fully close is rendered useless to a building’s fire safety procedure.

Check the fire door closes firmly onto the latch without sticking on the floor or to the frame. If the door doesn’t close properly or fully, you will need to report it.

It is also important to check the door closers to ensure they are operating correctly. Ensure the door closer shuts the door firmly onto the latch from any position.

What to do if you’re unsure

If you spot a faulty or damaged fire door in your building it is important to report it to the relevant persons.

There are a number of actions to take if a faulty fire door is spotted. Depending on who is checking the function of the fire door and its hardware, these include:

●      Reporting the issue to the Maintenance Contractor for the building

●      Speaking to a Fire Door Inspector

●      Contacting the door’s manufacturer

●      Contacting the fit-out company

●      If the facility is a new build and the doors are still under warranty – speak to the supplier, developer or installer of the doors

If you do suspect that one or more of your fire doors are not compliant then please seek professional advice.

Speak to us! It could be a hardware issue. If you’re unsure, get in touch with one of our experts here.