Places where fire doors are necessary
Whilst every premises is different, there are many situations where you would expect to find fire doors fitted.
- In corridors and staircases which serve as escape routes. This may include the fire exit doors which open onto outside staircases.
- As the doorways in fire-resisting walls. These walls are required to keep rooms separated so that if a fire starts in one, it can’t spread to another.
- In the communal areas of flats - this will include flat entrance doors.
- In a place to separate basements from other floors.
Providing they are still in good condition and fit well within their frames, they will still prevent fire from spreading.
Modern doors are equipped with what are called intumescent strips and cold smoke seals. Older doors may not have these fitted but are instead provided with a rebate all around the door frame (which just means there aren’t any gaps).
Where older doors are in poor condition or removed, they should be replaced with a modern-style fire door.
Maintaining fire doors
There is a legal requirement to maintain and manage fire doors. The law says property owners must ensure their buildings meet fire safety standards through suitable checks and maintenance (The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005).
The more the doors are in use, the more frequently you will need to check them. Anyone can spot a faulty fire door. Get started today by following the Fire Door Safety Week's five-step fire door check (external website opens in new tab).
Fire doors are often abused, neglected and seen as less vital than they actually are. Here’s how you can make sure you’re looking after yours.
- check the doors regularly to make sure they are closing properly and fit well within their frames
- replace the doors seals when defective
- train your staff on the importance of fire doors, and tell them not to prop them open
- put in place clear procedures for reporting defects
- get a qualified person to install fire doors and carry out any maintenance.
- leave them propped open
- damage them, or make sure any damage gets repaired
- remove or disconnect the fire door’s self-closing device
- cut the door to retrofit glazing or air vents (unless done by a door specialist).
Installing a fire door correctly is as important as ensuring the door itself is made to the correct standard. A third-party accredited fire door installer should be used. There are various third-party accredited schemes, which allow you to view their registers and locate a suitably qualified trades person.
What happens when you don’t maintain fire doors
Death or serious injury may result when a fire door fails to hold back fire or smoke long enough to allow people to escape.
In terms of premises, fire doors can be the difference between losing either a room to fire damage or the whole building. Over half of all businesses never recover from a fire. Of those that do, half go bankrupt within three years.
Failure to adequately maintain fire doors is one of the most common issues identified during fire safety inspections. Those that do not put in place and maintain fire safety measures can face prosecution leading to a fine, imprisonment or both.