None of us like to imagine the hardship that comes when a fire strikes at a hospital, school, care home, office, or other communal space. As unlikely as such a scenario might be, being prepared for the worst is always the best strategy when it comes to minimising damage – and maximising the safety of those that are being protected.
Here at Door Controls Direct, we take great pride in pledging our support to the Fire Door Safety Week campaign every year. So, we encourage you to ask yourself: are the fire doors that you encounter up to spec, and ready to protect?
This week of fire door awareness raising first kicked off in 2013, in an effort to increase public and professional understanding of how vital fire doors can be in stopping the spread of fire through a building. Whether you are maintaining fire doors within a care home, or fire doors at a commercial or communal location, the maintenance of these life-saving barriers should always be a top priority.
With that in mind, we've compiled a handy checklist that you can consult to make sure that the fire doors you oversee are always compliant. Maintain these all-important safeguards, with our simple eight-step guide!
Fire doors must be hung on a minimum of three hinges that are marked with the CE standard required. The hinges should be securely held in place with appropriately sized screws. There should be no sign of metal fragments, or oil leakage, these indicators point to worn hinges that will not perform as required and need replacing.
2. DOOR CLOSERS
The door closer is an essential requirement on any fire door that must be “kept shut”. Therefore it is vital that these devices are regularly checked and maintained. Is the door closer CE marked, and fitted at a minimum power size of 3? Is the arm securely fixed to the closer body and frame? Are all the fixings from the door closer body into the door present and secure? After assuring the above, test whether the door closes correctly from a wide and narrow opening angle ensuring it overcomes the latch if fitted. When closed, be certain that the door is fully and tightly shut, and that the smoke seal is doing its job effectively. As with the above-mentioned hinges inspect for any signs of wear and tear and replace or report any issues with your door closers.
3. HOLD OPEN DEVICES
Hold open devices are designed to keep a door held in the open position under normal conditions but release the moment the fire alarm sounds, these can be either hard wired into the alarm system or sound triggered. It is vital that as part of the regular maintenance the link to the fire alarm or sound trigger is tested to ensure the door releases. As per standard door closing devices regular checks should be undertaken looking for indications of wear and ensuring that the device is fixed securely to the door and frame, not putting excessive stress on the door that will affect performance.
4. LOCKS & LATCHES
If required mortice locks and latches must be fitted with intumescent protection to maintain the integrity of the fire door, the latch itself must be well-fitted preventing rattle in the door and be easy to operate to ensure operational safety. Check for ill-fitting latches, and any signs of wear such as metal fragments or dust and replace worn hardware as appropriate.
5. DOOR FURNITURE
A fire door is only as capable as the sum of its parts, and the door furniture forms part of this. Check that door furniture is appropriately fixed with all screws and bolts fixed securely and tightly in place. When released, the handle should return to its horizontal position without obstruction. This is a good sign that door furniture and mortice hardware such as latches or sashlocks are working correctly. Always ensure the door latches correctly into the frame after use.
6. INTUMESCENT SEALS
The intumescent and cold smoke seal around a fire door plays a very important role in stopping the transfer of smoke passing from one side of the door to the other and intumescing when exposed to heat. To do this effectively, they should run continuously around the frame of the door. Seals should not show any signs of wear and must be well attached to the groove that houses them. Only in perfect condition will they be able perform and slow the spread of fire and smoke within a building.
7. EMERGENCY EXIT HARDWARE
Some fire doors are in constant use, while others are designated for use only in an emergency. Should the fire doors in your care feature emergency exit devices, these must be CE marked to ensure they have the correct accreditation and also be tested regularly. Fire doors of any kind should never be secured or blocked in a way that would stop them being used.
When faced with a crisis situation, many may become disoriented, which makes raising awareness of fire doors under calm circumstances all the more important. Signage can also help you to recruit everyone who uses the building in maintaining the efficacy of fire doors. Signs that prompt people to keep fire doors shut or locked can ensure they are going to do their job should they ever be needed. Equally, signs that remind everyone to keep a fire door clear can keep the importance of these vital barriers in mind. This makes encouraging the presence of signage another powerful contribution from industry professionals, as they support owners of premises in achieving the highest standards of safety.
Should your fire door duty-of-care call for replacement hardware, Door Controls Direct are ready to assist. Explore our high quality products, or contact our team today to discuss your needs.