Fire doors are an essential barrier to help you with the safe evacuation of a premises but that is only if they are of the correct specification, have been correctly installed and are maintained. This year the Fire Door Safety Week campaign is entering its seventh consecutive year. The week long campaign runs from the 23rd September to the 29th September 2019.
The main purpose of Fire Door Safety Week is to raise awareness of the importance of fire doors in protecting life and property. Each year the campaign focuses on its original objectives which are:
- “To raise awareness of the critical role of fire doors, drawing attention to specific issues such as poor installation and maintenance.
- To engage and educate people, helping the whole building industry and every property owner to understand the correct specification, supply, installation, operation, inspection and maintenance of fire doors.
- To encourage building owners and users to check the operation and condition of their fire doors and to report those that aren’t satisfactory.
- To link together the initiatives of many organisations with common interests in the fire door and passive fire protection industries”.
Fire doors play a vital role in protecting life and property and should be installed in all commercial and multi-occupancy buildings and be capable of holding back a fire for at least 30 minutes.
More often than not fire doors can be found wedged open, in the event of a fire the fire door would not be able to withhold the fire thereby exposing occupants to a significant risk of harm. The fire escape route could become compromised leading to persons becoming trapped. There may be an occasion where it is not practical to close a fire door and in this case you must fit a magnetic catch which is automatically released when the fire alarm is activated or alternatively, a battery operated “Dorgard Fire Door Retainer”. If you have a magnetic catch fitted or a “Dorgard Fire Door Retainer” fitted then you must ensure that when the fire alarm sounds as part of your weekly test that the door is able to close automatically and fully shut into the frame without any gaps in excess of 3mm as well as no holes or damage.
Gaps that are in excess of 3mm can allow smoke and fire to penetrate through compromising the fire escape route and preventing persons from safely leaving the property and causing damage to other areas of the property. This can be checked with a £1 coin as this is about 3mm thick.
Practical Fire Safety Guidance
Here at Wirehouse our Health and Safety Consultants are frequently asked how do I know if a door is a fire door? Typically, on fire doors there is a certificate stuck to the top of the door stating whether it is an FD30 or an FD60. Without this certification it is difficult to determine if it is a fire door.
It is important that fire escape routes are protected to ensure that occupants vacate the premises quickly and safely. In order to ensure smoke and fire is also held back check the seals around the door, are there any damaged seals around the door or around the frame? Does the fire door close into its frame fully from any position when left to close by itself? Fire doors should be hung on three hinges or more with no missing or broken screws. If there is any damage to the door, the door fixing or seal then the fire could compromise your safety and the fire safety of others.
Legally you are required to ensure that your fire doors are correctly installed and adequately maintained. Therefore, it is crucial to regularly inspect fire doors to ensure that they meet the legal standards required in the event of a fire. Any issues identified from your checks must be dealt with as soon as possible.
5 Step Check to Fire Safety
Fire doors are vital in reducing the spread of fire and smoke therefore, it is crucial to ensure that the fire door complies with UK regulations using the 5 step check as outlined in the Fire Safety Week campaign:
- 1. Check for the Certification to confirm it is a fire door and the type.
- 2. Check the Gaps, around the door are not in excess of 3mm.
- 3. Check the seals around the door and/or frame to ensure that they are intact and not damaged and if there are any seals fitted.
- 4. Check that there are at least three hinges with all correct screws and that they are firmly fixed.
- 5. Check that the door closes into the frame fully when closed from any position by itself.