Are Your Fire Doors Protecting You?

As you schedule inspections and services to keep your facility clean, safe and code-compliant, remember your fire doors. Are they functioning and working as they should? Are your fire doors protecting you?

Why Fire Doors are Important

Fire-rated doors are an integral part of a building’s overall fire protection system. A properly functioning fire door is a key component in fire containment. Without fire doors, a fire can spread to other areas of a building. Toxic fumes and smoke can also escape and permeate rooms—inhibiting people from exiting quickly and safely.  Bottom line: Compartmentalization of a building is critical in preventing the spread of fire, smoke and fumes. If fire doors and its assemblies are not working properly, your facility is at great risk—of citations and fines, and of putting your building’s occupants in harm’s way.

Doors, Codes and Inspections

Fire doors are complex devices with a well-thought-out design—some with hundreds of moving parts. The door itself is only one part of a fire door assembly.  An assembly includes the door, frame, hardware, and other accessories that, when working together properly, provide the required fire protection needed.1

In industrial facilities, a fire-rated rolling door helps contain & compartmentalize a fire.

In industrial facilities, types of doors that help compartmentalize a fire include interior fire doors and exiting rolling fire doors. In commercial kitchens, such as one in a facility’s onsite cafeteria, serving counter doors (swinging, horizontal, vertical or rolling steel) are required to be fire-rated to help prevent stove top or range hood fires from spreading.

To meet National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) code, an inspection must be performed by an experienced and knowledgeable professional. Annual fire door inspections were introduced with the adoption of the 2007 Edition of NFPA 80, the “Standard for Fire Doors and other Opening Protectives.” The newest standard requires that “fire-rated doors be tested for functionality no less than annually, and that a written record of the inspection be kept on file for the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ).”

Common Fire Door Failure Can Be Prevented

The NFPA claims ‘failure to close’ as the most common failure mode of fire doors in actual fires.2 Non-closures may be due to a wide range of contributing factors, but are simple to prevent with regular maintenance and inspection!

“Failure to close” is a common fire door deficiency. As seen in this photo, fire doors must be able to close within the door assembly to function and serve its purpose!

Following your fire door inspections, if there are minor deficiencies, the technician is required to make repairs as soon as possible. If a fire door cannot be repaired, the technician should provide the information necessary for your facility manager to make an informed decision about complete fire door replacement.

Make Fire Door Inspections a Priority

When installed in new construction or new openings, fire doors perform as intended. Over time, these doors may sag or become damaged, and its fire-function is compromised. Fire doors are only effective to their full potential when building owners, facility managers, and construction professionals make fire safety and code compliance a priority.

Be proactive and protective of your building and the people in it. Annually inspected fire doors, by professionally trained and certified technicians, will help ensure what’s entrusted in your care are safe from potential fires.

Hughes Environmental offers code-compliant fire door inspections, conducted by professionally trained and certified door technicians. To schedule a fire door inspection for your facility, call: 888-845-3952 or complete your request online.

For more information on other life safety services, visit:  https://hughesenv.com/fire-life-safety-services

  1. The use of a door, building codes for your area, and a fire rating of the wall, all contribute to a door’s required fire rating (endurance of fire resistance).
  2. Courtesy of: https://www.facilitiesnet.com/doorshardware/article/Hot-Issue-Maintaining-Fire-Rated-Doors–8932

Contributing reference:
https://ohsonline.com/Articles/2017/03/01/Maintaining-Fire-Compliant-Openings