Have you checked your fire doors recently?
Whilst we are all aware of how important fire doors are, especially within environments and buildings such as public facilities and schools, hospitals, care homes and buildings of multiple occupancy, just knowing that they have the requisite doors is not enough.
Any fire door, in any building, is only as good as the condition in which it is kept and the way it is fitted. An ill-fitted, or damaged fire door is not fit for purpose. General checking and maintenance of these doors is essential to protect the integrity of their safety purposes.
Here are a few things to consider when checking your fire doors:
Fire doors should be properly tested and certificated
Every fire door should have been properly tested and certificated as fit for purpose before installation. Check each door for evidence of the certification – there should be a visible label, or plug, usually on top of the door but, occasionally, on the side.
A good tip for checking this is to use a mirror, or a ‘selfie’ setting on your mobile phone camera facility to check these potentially ‘awkward to access’ placements. If you cannot find the certificate label, then report the door to the building manager.
There should only be very small gaps
The maximum gap that should exist around the top and sides of the door is 4mm (about the width of a £1 coin). The gap under the door can be slightly more (up to 8mm), but should certainly be no bigger.
As a general rule, if you can see light from under the door then the likelihood is that this gap is too big and, potentially, fire and smoke could breach this gap. If this is the case, the door should be reported.
Fire doors should be fitted with intumescent seals
Intumescent seals are vital to the fire door’s performance as they expand with heat, thus ensuring that fire and smoke are contained with the fire source and doesn’t spread into the adjoining area. These seals should be checked regularly for damage of any kind that may compromise this function.
Fire doors should be fitted with complete hinges
All fire doors should be affixed with at least three hinge sets and should have no broken, or missing screws. If you see any evidence of this, then report the door – these faults can seriously compromise the safety and function of the door in the event of a fire break-out.
Does the door close properly?
Check the door’s closing function by opening the door to about halfway, then release it and let the door close by itself. Ensure that it closes firmly on the latch without sticking on the floor or to the frame. If this doesn’t happen, then report the door.
Remember, a fire door is only of use if it is in perfect working condition – check all your fire doors regularly and NEVER have them wedged open for any purpose! If you think there is a fire door in your building that is compromised in any way, then report it immediately to the relevant person in authority.