What are Fire Doors Used for & Why are they Important?

Fire doors have a unique role in the utility and overall safety of buildings – but why are fire doors important? Unlike regular doors, fire doors aren’t just for access and privacy; they serve an important role in passive fire prevention that could mean the difference between life and death in a fire incident. In this article, we’ll look at the critical role fire doors play, their regulations, and the importance of their installation and maintenance.

Fire Doors Save Lives & Prevent the Spread of Fire

 

So, what are fire doors used for? The primary purpose of fire doors is to save lives. They do this by containing fires within the area where it started, preventing the rapid spread of both flames and toxic smoke throughout the building. Fire doors, made of fire-resistant materials such as steel or solid timber, have a fire-resistance rating that dictates how long they can withstand a blaze. Some doors can hold a fire back for 20 minutes, while others can last for up to 120 minutes. This essential delay can give occupants the necessary time to evacuate safely and potentially save lives.

 

Safeguard Properties Against Further Damage

 

Beyond saving lives, fire doors also help to protect properties and valuable assets. By restricting the fire to one place, they limit the amount of damage done to the rest of the building. This containment also significantly reduces the cost of post-fire restoration, as fewer areas are affected. In industrial and commercial settings, this can translate into the safeguarding of vital data, machinery, and goods from irreparable fire damage. Even if the fire door fails eventually, the spread is slowed significantly which helps mitigate any potential damage caused.

 

Allow Emergency Services Time to Reach the Fire Location

 

The robust nature of fire doors buys precious time for emergency services to attend the scene. From the moment a fire starts to the time firefighters arrive and start combatting the blaze, fire doors work diligently, holding back the flames and smoke. This period can be crucial in allowing firefighters to reach the location safely, implement their fire control strategies, and rescue any trapped occupants. Every second counts when a fire breaks out, and fire doors are an excellent stop-gap measure to give emergency services more time to handle the situation.

 

Fire Doors Must Meet Local & National Building Regulations

 

Fire doors are a requirement under building regulations in many jurisdictions worldwide. In the UK, the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order of 2005 governs the proper installation and maintenance of fire doors for all premises (other than private residences). These regulations prescribe where fire doors should be located (usually near areas with high fire risks, such as kitchens), the required fire-resistance ratings, and other specifications to ensure maximum effectiveness. Non-compliance with these standards can lead to legal consequences and can compromise the safety of occupants.

 

Fire Doors Require Regular Maintenance

 

The functionality of fire doors depends heavily on their state of maintenance. Regular inspections are necessary to ensure that the door’s integrity hasn’t been compromised, its seals are intact, and the door closes correctly into its frame. Maintenance activities also include checking the door hardware like hinges, latches, and closers to ensure they function correctly. Any defects should be addressed promptly to ensure the fire door is always ready to perform its duty. A faulty or aged fire door simply can’t perform optimally, resulting in false confidence and a greater risk of significant fire damage to properties.

 

Expert Fire Door Installation & Maintenance Services

 

Given their vital role, it’s of great importance that fire doors are installed and maintained by trained professionals like our team at Ark Fire Protection. Expert installation ensures that the door fits perfectly into its frame, the right hardware is used, and the door meets the required fire-resistance rating. Similarly, professional maintenance services can spot any issues that may be missed by the untrained eye, ensuring your fire doors are always up to standard.

 

Fire doors play a particularly important role that could be the difference between life or death. They are lifesavers, property protectors, and invaluable allies for firefighters. By investing in quality fire doors and keeping up with regular maintenance, building owners are not just complying with regulations, they are prioritising the safety of everyone who uses their property.

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