One of the best ways to compartmentalize a facility, while also providing a safe evacuation route for building occupants is the use of fire doors. Fire doors have become an important part of a building’s passive fire protection system. They have a well-thought out design with hundreds of moving parts, which allows them to prevent fire and smoke from spreading throughout the building. Unfortunately, that means there is a higher chance for those parts to become deficient.
Fire doors are complex devices and require a knowledgeable professional in the field to perform an annual inspection as accurately as NFPA 80 requires. However, there are five parts of a fire door that can be checked by anybody. So, here is a quick and easy fire door check list that should be inspected on a regular basis to help keep a building’s fire doors in compliance with NFPA’s codes and standards.
1. Check for Certification
Using the selfie function on your camera phone or a mirror, you can check to make sure the door’s fire-rated labels are not missing or damaged.
2. Check the Gaps
Gap allowances depend on the door, but as a rule of thumb, if you can see light under the door, the gap is likely to be too big. It’s good news if the door fits the frame and it’s not damaged. If the gaps are too big smoke and fire could travel through the cracks.
3. Check the Gasket and Edge Seals
These seal should expand if they become in contact with heat to ensure fire (and in some cases smoke) can’t move through the cracks. If not, the door may not be properly maintained and in the intensity of a fire may not protect you long enough.
4. Check the Hinges
If you see problems, report it - the door is obviously not properly maintained and in the intensity of a fire may not perform and hold back the fire for long enough.
5. Check if the Door Closes Properly
Open the door about halfway, let go and allow it to close by itself. Does it close firmly onto the latch without sticking on the floor or the frame? A fire door only works when it’s closed. A fire door is completely useless if it’s wedged open or can’t close fully.
Fire doors are an important piece in a building’s overall fire protection system. By helping to contain fire and smoke to a remote location, fire doors also provide a safe evacuation for occupants with an easy egress out of the building. If a fire door is kept open or has been tampered with, then it will be worthless in the event of a fire.