What is a “Fire Door”?
A Fire Door is a door that is designed to resist the passage of fire and smoke for a designated amount of time. They are placed in areas that will protect lives and property in the event of a fire, such as doors accessing exit corridors and doors between adjacent laboratories.
Why are Fire Doors necessary?
Fire doors help contain fires to a single area such as a laboratory. By containing the fire and smoke to an area, they help stop the spread of fire and smoke to adjacent rooms, corridors and throughout a building. Conversely, they help keep fire out of rooms such as a laboratory protected by a Fire Door.
How can a person tell if a door is a Fire Door?
There are a few clues to look for. Most Fire Doors will close automatically.
1) Automatic closer attaching bolts located on upper hinge side of door:
2) On the hinge side of the door, many Fire Doors will have a “rating label” attached. This rating indicates a Fire Door’s effective time range (the minimum amount of time it will resist fire). Fire Doors are rated anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours.
3) If the Fire Door has glass in it, many will have wire-glass to achieve its rating. Others will be of the newer type of glass and will not contain wire. There will be writing in the lower right hand corner of glass with the words “U L Listed” or “Temp-rite.”
4) If the door is held open by a magnet, it is a Fire Door. The magnet releases when the Fire Alarm system is activated and the door automatically closes, thus containing the spread of smoke, heat and fire.
How effective are Fire doors?
The following photographs show how effective Fire Doors can be.
1) On January 23, 2014 in L’Isle Verte, Quebec, Canada, a fire broke out in a nursing home. Thirty two occupants died in this fire. The cause of fire is still undetermined.
2) Crews are still mopping up the day after the fire and conducting a body search. Look closely in the upper right portion of the photograph (follow arrow). This is a Fire Door on the second floor of the structure. It is closed.
3) Before the fire, there was a building between the arrows. The left arrowhead points to the elevator shaft. The right arrowhead points to the adjoining wall of the rest of the same nursing home, which is intact due to the fact that the fire doors were closed at the time of the fire. They did their job.
Main points to remember:
- Most Fire Doors have automatic closing devices on them.
- Most Fire Doors have rating labels on them.
- Many Fire Doors can be integrated into the Fire Alarm system.
- Fire Doors can save property, research and lives.
- Fire Doors are only effective as a fire stop when closed.