Fire door safety: A beginner’s guide
If you own, manage or operate a business you need to comply with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 which applies across England and Wales. Included within the Order is the requirement for the supply, installation, operation, inspection and maintenance of fire doors.
A fire door is a fire safety precaution that is used to aid with compartmentation within the premises. This will assist with delaying the spread of fire and smoke, which is the number one cause of fatalities in a fire. To put it simply, fire doors save lives. Fire doors are designed and tested to withstand fire for a minimum of 30 minutes and therefore provide occupants valuable time to escape and the fire brigade time to attend and potentially save the premises.
Fire doors within your premises should be installed by a competent person and should have the following features:
- Smoke seals and intumescent strips
- Three hinges
- Free of any damage
- Close fully into its frame
- CE mark from the manufacturer
- Certification from the manufacturer
Any additional items within the door, e.g. letterboxes and peepholes, should be installed during manufacturing or installed and recertified by a competent person. Management of fire doors is an integral part of internal health and safety inspections. When carrying out a visual inspection of the doors you should be looking to ensure the door and frame are free of any damage, the self-closer shuts the door fully into the frame, the smoke seals and intumescent strips are in good condition – not painted and doors are not wedged open. A common sight within premises is the propping open of fire doors, this could be with a standard door wedge or the more regular a fire extinguisher. If fire doors are wedged open they will not delay the spread of fire or smoke and will put people at risk should a fire occur. There are many devices that can be installed that will hold doors open but will automatically release at the sound of the alarm or that can be connected to the fire alarm system.
Fire risk assessments are mandatory for all commercial premises, this will capture the risks and hazards and provide an action plan for the improvement of fire safety. The fire risk assessment will include a visual inspection of all fire doors within your premises and will identify where additional doors may be required. Havio assists clients by carrying out these assessments and providing concise action plans for the improvement of fire safety within the premises.