Vulcan Fire Training are supporting Fire Door Safety Week from the 24th - 30th September to highlight the vital role that fire doors play within the fire protection for commercial, public and multiple occupancy buildings.
Fire doors are often the first line of defence in a fire and can be the difference between life and death. When a fire occurs, they prevent smoke and fire from spreading and the longer a door resists, the greater the chance there is for all occupants to escape.
The amount of time a fire door can withstand fire depends on the materials it’s made from and density of the door. Below are some examples of the different types of fire doors and how long they can withstand fire for:
- FD30 – up to 30 minutes of resistance
- FD60 – up to 60 minutes of resistance
- FD90 – up to 90 minutes of resistance
- FD120 – up to 120 minutes of resistance
Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRO) it is the responsibility of building owners, employers and operators to ensure that employees and users of their properties are safe. Meaning that risk assessments are a vital legal responsibility which must be regularly reviewed and amended if and when any changes to the premises are made.
However, fire doors still remain a significant area of neglect with improper installation, downgrades on the specification, insufficient maintenance and damage (often from being propped open) leading to poor fire safety and in some cases fatalities.
Below are 5 tips from Fire Door Safety week for checking and assessing the safety of your fire doors:
Check for certification: Is there a label or plug on top (or occasionally on the side) of the door to show it is a certificated fire door? You can use the selfie function on your camera phone or a mirror to check. If there is, that’s good news. Otherwise, report it to whoever is in charge of your building.
- Check the gaps: Check the gaps around the top and sides of the door are consistently less than 4mm when closed. You can use a £1 coin to give a feel for scale, this is about 3mm thick. The gap under the door can be slightly larger (up to 8mm is not uncommon), but it does depend on the door - as a rule of thumb, if you can see light under the door, the gap is likely to be too big. It’s good news if the door fits the frame and it’s not damaged. If not, report it. If the gaps are too big smoke and fire could travel through the cracks.
- Check the seals: Are there any intumescent seals around the door or frame, and are they intact with no sign of damage? These seals are usually vital to the fire door's performance, expanding if in contact with heat to ensure fire (and in some cases smoke) can’t move through the cracks. If not, report it - the door may not be properly maintained and in the intensity of a fire may not protect you long enough.
- Check the hinges: Are the hinges firmly fixed (three or more of them), with no missing or broken screws? If you see problems, report it - the door is obviously not properly maintained and in the intensity of a fire may not perform and hold back the fire for long enough.
- Check the door closes properly: Open the door about halfway, let go and allow it to close by itself. Does it close firmly onto the latch without sticking on the floor or the frame? If not, report it. A fire door only works when it’s closed. A fire door is completely useless if it’s wedged open or can’t close fully.
If after carrying out these checks you find that the building has a faulty fire door, report it to the fire warden, landlord or building manager.
As a provider of fire safety training courses, our aim is to make sure delegates have the information they need to carry out effective fire risk assessments and identify any potential fire risks, which can be rectified to provide an incident occurring.
To ensure you know how to properly carry out and manage the fire safety within your premises or workplace, book one of our training courses here.
Find out more about Fire Safety week here.