Four simple fire door checks to prevent the spread of smoke
A fire outbreak in any building is always a serious matter – both lives and property can be lost in such circumstances. There are more casualties caused by smoke inhalation though rather than from the fire or flames themselves – smoke can very quickly incapacitate people and prevent them from exiting the building in time.
As smoke is such a dangerous factor in any fire outbreak, here are four simple fire checks you should regularly make to ensure that your bespoke fire doors will do their job efficiently and effectively in such an event:
Door gaps – minimum standards and measurements
There are minimum standards and measurements that bespoke fire doors must adhere to and comply. Any gap between a fire door and its’ frame should be between 2mm and 4mm – anything greater or less than these distances will make the fire door ineffective.
To ensure sufficient room for the vital intumescent strip to activate and be effective in the event of a fire outbreak, there should be a recommended gap of 3mm. If your fire doors are constructed with smoke seal strips, then this 3mm gap will also ensure the safe opening and closing of the doors without causing damage to the strips.
Smoke seals – close gaps as smoke will find a way
Most bespoke fire doors will be fitted with smoke seals – these strip seals act to close any gaps in the door from the end of the smoke seal to the frame. Checking that these seals are fitted correctly and close the relevant gaps is important as smoke will find its’ way through any unsealed gap no matter how small!
Unprotected areas – the smallest defect can result in door failure
Ensure that there are only very limited amounts of ‘unprotected areas’ around your fire doors. Any breach of intumescent or smoke seals will result in dangerous smoke filtering through into adjoining areas from the fire outbreak itself. The smallest defect can result in a door ‘failure’ – there are often breaks in the intumescent seals on the hinge side through wear and friction, but you can protect these by fitting intumescent sheets behind them.
Door closers – failures can endanger lives and property
All fire doors should be checked regularly to ensure they are in working order – some doors though will be more heavily used than others. Fire doors that experience heavy footfall or traffic, with people constantly accessing them, can deteriorate more quickly than other doors so these need to be checked more regularly and more rigorously.
Some fire doors may suffer ‘dropping’ or warping from being held open for longer periods – this may lead to them these doors not closing ‘truly’. This failure to close properly or fully most often occurs with double doors – and any door that fails to close properly will not be fit for purpose in the event of a fire outbreak, thus potentially endangering lives and property. If any of your fire doors show signs of these defects they must be rectified immediately.
Professional fire door suppliers or manufacturers will be able to give you all the relevant information you require with regards to fire door safety and installation and maintenance.