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How to identify a fire door

How to identify a fire door

Knowing how to identify and check internal fire doors might just save your life. Fortunately, a fire door is relatively easy to identify thanks to certain tell tale signs. In the event of a fire, knowing that you can count on a minimum of 30 minutes of fire resistance delivers peace of mind and allows you to put together a fire escape plan.

The five step fire door check

When you’re trying to identify a fire door, follow this simple five step check:


Use your phone’s selfie camera to check for certification labels or plugs. These are usually located on the top of the door, or occasionally to the side. If you can’t find any labels, check the status of the doors with the manufacturer.


Use a £1 Coin between the door edges and frame, if the £1 coin fits nice and tightly in the gap, the gaps are between 3mm +/- 1mm, if the £1 coin falls into the gaps or rattles between the door leaf edges and frames, the door gaps are too big and require addressing. Generally the bottom door gap should be no more than 10mm, sometimes only 8mm, check for any installation instructions or test evidence.


An intumescent strip is made from material that conducts heat poorly and will swell on contact with heat. This provides an exceptionally secure seal against smoke and flames which can’t pass through any cracks in the door. If no seal is visible or you can detect seals but they’re damaged, take appropriate action to have them made safe.


There should be at least three hinges, all firmly screwed into place. If screws are missing or broken then the hinges may malfunction and stop the door from functioning effectively. A poorly maintained fire door is also more likely to fail in the event of fire.


Now open the door a few inches and let go. It should close by itself and latch firmly. Check whether it sticks or scrapes on the floor or the door frame. Fire doors that are wedged open or won’t close securely are useless in the event of a fire so make sure that every part of the closing mechanism is in good working order.

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