Fire Doors Explained

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Fire doors are essential and critical requirements for any building. What people don’t always recognise is that fire doors are not just ordinary doors; they are engineered to be safety products, which can save lives and properties. Fire doors are capable of containing fires within the area they started for a specific time period, which is usually long enough for people to get to safety. External fire doors on the other hand are crucial in protecting the escape routes of people in case a fire breaks out.

Fire doors are usually made from timber or steel. The ratings given to fire doors are based on the amount of time it takes before the door assembly allows the passage of hot gases and flames. Typically, fire doors are rated as providing either 30 or 60 minutes of protection.

Types of Fire Doors

Timber fire resistant doors normally require a gap of 3 to 4 millimetres between the door leaf and the frame. To maintain fire resistance, the gap is normally protected by an intumescent seal installed in either the door or the frame. This intumescent seal expands to seal the gaps in the early stages of the fire. If the door has a glazed panel, this will also be fitted with an intumescent material. To restrict the spread of smoke in ambient temperatures, smoke seals may also be fitted. External fire doors made of timber are a good option; however, they are normally rated as being able to offer protection from fire for just 30 minutes. Metal fire doors are also installed and fitted with intumescent materials. These doors however are the best choice because they are usually rated as capable containing fire for a period of 60 minutes.

safety

How to Identify Fire Doors

To identify fire doors, labels and plugs are usually placed in the side panels of the door. The labels of fire doors must contain the name of the manufacturer and its fire rating. There should also be a seal of certification from one or more third party certification schemes. This information is important because it assures that the door meets its designated fire resistance. Each door must have a serial number which should correspond to the door frame. The door and frame numbers must match with each other to ensure a perfect fit.

External fire doors or fire doors that allow access to the outside of the building must open easily with a single hand movement, such as turning a lever or pushing a push pad or bar. Extra security locks must not be fitted to fire doors. However, if there is a necessity to lock the external doors, there are certified electronic locks that release the lock when the fire alarm is triggered.

If you are installing fire resistant doors in your building, make sure to follow the instructions properly or you can have them installed by the manufacturer’s technicians. For more information on fire and safety doors, check out www.safedoors.co.uk.

Image courtesy of artur84 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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