Fire doors are often the first line of defence in a fire. Their correct specification, installation, maintenance and management can be the difference between life and death for building occupants.
Despite this, Fire door breaches remain one of the most common fines implemented under the Fire Safety Order, with common problems ranging from doors being wedged open, missing or damaged doors or even non-fire doors being installed in their place.
As part of the national fire safety campaign, Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service are supporting Fire Door Safety Week (24 – 30 September) and encouraging building managers, landlords, tenants and all building users to check the operation and condition of their fire doors and repair (if possible) or report those that aren’t satisfactory.
Group Manager Tim Gray, Head of Fire Safety said: “It cannot be underestimated the difference that an effective fire door can make. A fire door is not always a fire exit door and is typically identified by a blue ‘FIRE DOOR KEEP SHUT’ sign often at eye level. Fire doors are an essential part of our fire protection, they help to compartmentalise a building, such as a block of flats, keeping fire and smoke trapped for a while in one area, so that the fire can be tackled, and people can be safely evacuated.
“If you’ve seen a damaged fire door or know of a flat entrance door that hasn’t been checked for fire performance, report it to your landlord or building manager straight away and if you see a fire door propped open, make sure you shut it – a fire door cannot work when open.”
Fire Door Safety Week is giving these tips for a 5 Step Fire Door Check that anyone can do, and which lets you know whether it’s time to call in the professionals:
Check for certification – Is there a label or plug on top (or occasionally on the side) of the door to show it is a certificated fire door?
Check the gaps – Check the gaps around the top and sides of the door are consistently less than 4mm when closed.
Check the seals – Are there any intumescent seals around the door or frame, and are they intact with no sign of damage?
Check the hinges – Are the hinges firmly fixed (three or more of them), with no missing or broken screws?
Check the door closes properly – Open the door about halfway, let go and allow it to close by itself. Does it close firmly onto the latch without sticking on the floor or the frame?