When it comes to…

…a building’s fire safety, few elements are as important as the fire door. In this article, we explore what fire doors are, why they are such a crucial element in fire safety, and the rules and regulations that govern them.

What Is A Fire Door?

Fire Doors are purpose-built doors that are designed to limit the spread of fire, and smoke, by compartmentalising the different areas within a building.

They are constructed from specialist materials, such as aluminium, steel, gypsum and heat-resistant glass, and feature an intumescent seal that will expand when exposed to heat, filling the gap between the door and frame preventing smoke and the fire from spreading.

They can typically withstand fire, heat and smoke for at least 30 minutes, or even up to 120 minutes, depending on the fire rating, and must have passed certification by the manufacturer following rigorous testing at an approved centre.

How Do They Help In The Event Of A Fire?

There are several ways they can play an important role in keeping people safe during a fire:

  • They form a barrier to stop the fire spreading
  • They buy time for the building’s occupants to evacuate safely
  • They can limit the damage caused by a fire by keeping it compartmentalised within one area
  • They protect escape routes such as stairways or corridors

Rules & Regulations

In the UK, guidance around fire doors falls under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, and numerous other pieces of legislation, such as the Building Safety Act 2022 and the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022, amongst others, depending on the property type and the requirements of each.

To be sure your fire doors are up-to-standard and suitable for your property use, it is advisable to consult with a fire safety professional such as a fire risk assessor.

Fire Door Checks & Maintenance

If you are the responsible person for a building, then it is your responsibility to check your fire doors are maintained and in full working order.

It may sound obvious, but perhaps the most important thing to check is that the door closes properly, as if there is any obstruction or the door has been damaged, it won’t be able to prevent a fire from spreading. Also make sure fire doors are kept closed at all times.

As part of Fire Door Safety Week, the British Woodworking Federation put together this handy 5-step checklist for inspecting your fire doors:

5 Step Fire Door Checklist

In conclusion, fire doors are a lifesaving component of fire protection. Their ability to resist fire, contain smoke, and assist safe evacuations make them invaluable. Ensuring they are property certified, and well maintained, is vital for continued fire safety.

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