The primary purpose of a fire door is to prevent the spread of fire, and with a wide range of features, they all work together to stop smoke and fire seeping through. This means that a fire is potentially limited to one room, which reduces risk to life and damage, whilst ensuring exit routes are safe for as long as possible.
When complimented with smoke alarms or a fire alarm system, this allows you to get everyone out and for the fire service to arrive in plenty of time. For businesses and rented accommodation, this is essential.
However, many people actually prevent a fire door from doing its job.
Let’s be honest. Do you wedge open doors, preventing them from closing, using a fire extinguisher? You’re not alone, but you’re technically breaking the law on two counts. Fire safety regulations mean a fire door should be allowed to shut in a fire emergency, and that a fire extinguisher should not be removed from its location.
This is because a fire would be allowed to spread freely, and it could cause a delay in finding something to tackle a fire, potentially delaying an exit to safety and allowing a small fire to take hold.
How Can I Hold Open My Fire Door Legally?
There are lots devices now which can be fitted to your fire doors and allow you to hold open a door legally. With a door holder fitted to the bottom of a door, such as the Union Wireless Fire Door Holder, it will securely hold a door in the open position for access.
Battery operated with no wiring necessary, it listens for the sound of your fire alarm and will then release the door to shut as soon as it hears it going off.
Door closers are essential for ensuring the fire door swings shut after use, and are available for push, pull and slide doors. But some are available which will also hold open the door for access to combine two technologies into one unit.
These too can work wireless, or others are available which connect directly to your fire alarm system for improved reliability. And with swing-free modes, the door can even be left open slightly for a breeze but will still shut tight in the event of a fire.
How Does A Fire Door Stop Fire Spreading?
Around the edge of your door or door frame will be an intumescent fire and smoke seal. When the door is shut, and exposed to a high temperature, this will then begin to expand in order to create an airtight seal around the door.
However, be wary of these when decorating as getting even a little paint on these will prevent them from actually expanding when you need them most. So you need to ensure that if you have paint on these seals, that they are replaced.
There are always going to be essential holes in your door. These will be for the door handle, and maybe even a letterbox, viewer or ventilation grilles. Thankfully, you can also purchase fire-rated versions of these so they don’t compromise the integrity of the door. These may use intumescent materials or be constructed of a material which is designed to withstand a fire for a set period of time.
With all of these installed and correctly maintained, they will help prevent a fire spreading for between 30 minutes and 4 hours, when partnered with other fireproofing.
However, in order to work, the door has to actually be shut in an emergency. So please stop wedging open your door, whatever you use, and look at installing a door holding device which will allow you to legally provide access and ventilation.