The importance of fire doors and your premises
Fire doors are one of the most important fire protection measures in a premises. They greatly reduce the spread of smoke and fire when fitted and used correctly and they prevent more of your premises being lost to fire than necessary. They are a requirement in all public buildings, offices, factories and in some residential premises such as houses of multiple occupation.
Below is a quick summary of things to look for to ensure that the fire door is fitted correctly:
– Is it certified?
There may be a label on the top of the door or a plug that will show you it is certified.
– Is the gap between the door and the frame 4mm or less?
When closed there shouldn’t be a gap larger than 4mm between the door and the frame. A quick check is to use a £1 coin which is about 3mm thick. If there is a large gap smoke and fire could travel through rendering the fire door ineffective.
– Does your door require cold smoke seals and intumescent strips?
If it does you should check for these on the edges and top of the door. The cold smoke seal will stop smoke leaking past the door and the intumescent strip will expand when in contact with fire to ensure the fire does not spread.
– Are the hinges correct?
There should be three hinges firmly fixed to the door.
– Does the door close?
The door should be able to close fully into the rebate without any assistance. There may be a need for a self closer on the door, if so this should work effectively. Fire doors should not be propped open.
– Is the door correctly signed?
The door should have the correct signage to advise occupants that it is a fire door.
Testimonial for the importance of fire doors
Earlier this year a landlord made the changes at their three storey house in Northampton, and notified Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service of this and, a week later, the Fire Service was called to a fire which had broken out in one of the rooms.
The fire, which had resulted from the use of cooking equipment, triggered the alarm quickly and the Fire Service was called to the scene. On arrival, it was discovered that the newly fitted fire door had stopped the flames and smoke spreading to other areas of the house so only minimal damage was caused.
The landlord said: “It is a landlord’s greatest asset to go the extra mile to make sure of fire safety as this is nothing in comparison to what can happen if a fire destroys your property”.
For more information on fire doors, visit the British Woodworking Federation website.
The document below from The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government offers general advice for building owners of Multi-storey, Multi-occupied Residential Buildings on assurance and assessment of flat entrance fire doors.