At Firescape, we know that technology alone isn’t enough, you need a sound knowledge of fire safety and the workings of the various products we use to combat blazes. So, if you’ve ever wondered ‘what is the purpose of a fire door?’, then you’re in the right place. We’ve crafted this blog explaining how they work, the installation process, and when you might need one.
How They Work
You might be surprised to hear that Fire Doors work like many regular doors; they both open and shut, which allows people to move through buildings at their leisure. All joking aside, though, there are very real differences between your typical doors and ones specifically built with fire safety in mind that could be the difference between life and death. They are designed to withstand fire for a certain timeframe, which is usually around thirty minutes. The reasoning behind this is that it allows occupants of the building or structure time to vacate, as they can block and contain the spread of the fire. Their effectiveness is down to the material used in their making and there are two methods to constructing one.
The first is to have a core in the door itself made from something like flax board or a wood composite that will burn much slower than a typical door. The second is a standard solid construction but, in either case, special seals will be fitted that will activate once the heat is detected, thus preventing anything from seeping through the gaps in the frame. Some fire doors may be covered in glass that is resistant to flames too, though this is not a requirement. They will also have emergency locks and exit mechanisms, so that you’re not hindered if you need to make a quick exit.
5 Fire Door Regulations
There are thousands of regulations around fire doors, so learning them all might be a bit of a task. However, some are more pertinent than others, so let’s take a look at a few of those now;
- A building must have a ‘Responsible Person’ who is required to manage risk assessments and enact any necessary dangers highlighted by them. This includes checking that the fire doors function properly.
- Fire doors are required to offer the same grade of fire resistance as facets of the structure such as floors and walls. These are evaluated in the same way and held to the same standards.
- Smoke detecting regulations are relevant to fire doors too, as the systems can be integrated. In such cases, the correct procedures must be followed.
- Fire doors must also meet disability access regulations too, so they must be designed with this in mind.
- Structures themselves must be compliant too, otherwise, they will be unable to have fire doors fitted in.
What do Fire Doors Look Like?
When you think of a fire door, you picture it as rather cumbersome and covered in hazard colours such as red and yellow. However, there are no regulations on what they have to look like, outside of the safety requirements. There is a vast number of options to choose from when selecting your fire doors, including customisation options for glazing and finishes. When purchasing one, most will come as a whole set, with both the frame and everything else included, and this is the recommended way to buy one, as you can be sure every part fits safely and is compatible. Remember, a poorly fitted fire door will not be effective.
When Do You Need a Fire Door?
Most residential properties don’t require fire doors in the UK but, if you are renting in a block of flats or something similar, then they might be mandatory. Always check with your building manager to see if you need one. Most regulations are set in place at commercial properties such as workplaces or large shopping centres, as they will house a large volume of people daily. Most are fitted internally in structures, but you may see external fire doors that lead to emergency shelters.
Installation and Testing
Fire doors have many different aspects to their design, and each must be set up properly if you want them to function as intended. You can fit them yourself, and a detailed instruction manual should always come with your set, but this can be rather complex, especially if you’re not well versed in DIY. However, many retailers and suppliers also offer installation services, and we would recommend this if you think you would have trouble doing it yourself. All fire doors must be tested to the legal standard too, so you don’t have to worry about its effectiveness if you are purchasing from a legitimate source.
Get the Right Extinguisher Too
Now you know the importance of fire doors and how they work, you may be reflecting on your safety precautions. The doors serve to stop fire spreading between rooms but, depending on the type and size of the blaze, you may be able to nip it in the bud before it goes that far. Firescape has spent years crafting two fast-working, effective extinguishing products; Pan-Safe and Spray-Safe. The former is sachet filled with 120ml of our patented formula and is specifically designed to tackled difficult pan fires. The latter is a more general aerosol extinguisher, with 335ml of liquid that can be used to put out a variety of fires in seconds. Both are available to buy from our online shop. What’s more, the formula used in each of these is the eco-friendliest option available; it leaves no toxic residue behind and there isn’t much of anything to tidy up either! Both have been independently tested by industry experts and have been approved by the London Fire Brigade. If you want to upgrade your home fire safety extinguisher, simply visit our homepage for more information.