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Do fire doors need to be safe closing?

Do fire doors need to be safe closing?

Health and safety is a big concern in any building or environment where people gather – in years gone by, the implementation of simple safety precautions may have saved many lives, particularly in fire outbreaks within buildings. These days, there are strict rules and regulations round fire safety in commercial – and new residential – building construction, especially in regard to fire doors and escape exits. The current legislation states that a fire door, or shutter should be installed in a building that, when closed, will resist the passage of fire and/or any gaseous products in the event of a fire outbreak. The performance of any fire door critically depends upon the correct installation of the complete door assembly.

In understanding that principle, it is obviously preferable to have all fire doors fitted with automatic self-closing devices that will protect the fire escape areas, as leaving these doors ajar for any period of time creates dangerous situations, and can have a negative impact on foot traffic moving between floors/rooms in an emergency situation.

What is a door closer?

Basically it is a device that automatically closes a door, when open at any angle, securely against a door frame.

Where do you need self-closing doors?

Private / residential house

If your home has an integral garage then it should be served by a fire door fitted with a self-closing device. Any other doors within the property, even fire doors, do NOT need to be fitted with an approved self-closing device – but would benefit from being so

Building of multiple occupation

Either residential or commercial, in these environments, any fire door that acts as a ‘dead end’ to a common corridor, or any corridor that connects two or more storey exits, or any fire door providing access to external escape stairs or other exit routes, should ALL have fire doors fitted with appropriate automatic door closers.

Free swing door closers

Buildings such as commercial premises (offices, schools, hotels) can be fitted with these. These closing devices are installed at the top of a fire door and allow the door to swing freely with minimal force required to open it, or to be held in any position. In the event of a fire outbreak, and a fire alarm sounding, the door closers will automatically operate and shut the door providing a safety barrier to reduce the spread of flames and smoke through the building. The closers can be hard-wired to any alarm system or can be battery operated and wireless.

Hold open devices

This is a device that enables doors to be held open electronically and are fitted to fire doors in circumstances where it may be inconvenient or undesirable for the doors to be permanently closed. In buildings such as schools and care homes, closed doors can have a negative impact on the occupants and can present hazards in areas of heavy footfall or traffic. The hold-open device leaves the doors in an open position until they are released, either manually or in the event of a fire outbreak, when they will close automatically.

General advice

You should take time to evaluate the different types of door closers available and select and install the most appropriate units for your specific business or environment, giving any occupants the best chance of exiting the building safely in the event of a fire outbreak.

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