While doors might not be the first thing you think of regarding fire protection, they can be highly effective. Forming part of a passive fire protection system, fire doors can contain ablaze and also prevent harmful fumes and smoke from spreading.
In order to achieve both of the above, fire doors have to be in perfect working order. However, they are often an overlooked part of a fire protection system.
Today we will talk you through a few reasons why fire door service is necessary. We also discuss some of the fire door servicing requirements and things to look out for.
How Do Fire Doors Work?
Fire doors fulfill two functions as part of a fire protection system.
- Fire Isolation – Fire doors are thicker and less combustible than regular doors. If you have an area fitted with fire doors, the spread of fire is contained to a more localized area, making it easier to suppress.
- Smoke Limitation – Fire doors are able to form a tight seal in certain areas. In most fires, smoke is a greater danger than the flames themselves. By limiting the spread of smoke, fire doors make a positive and safer outcome more likely.
What Are the Different Types of Fire Doors?
There are two general types of fire doors.
- Regular Doors – Essentially, regular fire doors are designed to be used as you would a regular door. To be considered fully effective, they must be kept closed.
- Automatic Closing – This type of door is useful in areas with high footfall, such as in large corridors or areas where quick access is required. These doors are normally held open by an electromagnet or similar system. When an alarm is triggered, the electromagnet switches off, allowing the door to close and providing the benefits described above.
However, the above two descriptions are very broad, and there are nuances within each category.
According to the National Fire Protection Association document, NFPA 80, there are different types of fire doors, including:
- Swinging doors with builders hardware
- Swinging doors with fire door hardware
- Horizontally sliding doors
- Vertically sliding fire doors
- Rolling fire doors
- Rolling steel fire doors
All of the above have different testing and servicing requirements. Some of the above will require specialist knowledge in order to be serviced fully.
Why Need Fire Door Service?
In most cases, fire doors, just like normal doors, are subject to a fair amount of wear and tear, especially in busy areas. Seals can become worn, rough use can damage latches and hinges, and changes in humidity can warp door frames and doors alike.
Anything that degrades the door’s overall efficiency can result in substandard performance.
But what could possibly go wrong? Doors aren’t that complex, right?
Actually, quite a few requirements need to be satisfied for a fire door to be deemed ‘safe’ in an inspection.
According to NFPA 80, the document detailing fire door standards, the following criteria must be met:
- Fire door markings must be clearly visible.
- There must be no holes or gaps in either the door frame or the door itself.
- Glazing and glazing beads must be intact and secure.
- The frame, hinges, and hardware must be secure with no damage.
- No parts are permitted to be broken or missing.
- The door must have sufficient clearance.
- The self closing devices must be fully operational.
- If double doors have a flange or lip, they must close in the correct sequence.
- Door latches must ensure that the door stays closed.
- There are no other installations fitted to the door or frame that would inhibit its normal use.
- Gaskets and seals must be in good condition.
The above list, while extensive, isn’t exhaustive. Swinging doors with fire door hardware have around 19 different points on which they all need to pass.
When Do Fire Doors Need to Be Serviced?
NFPA 80 states that fire door inspections need to be performed annually at a minimum. In addition to this, all newly installed doors need to be inspected once work is complete. If any maintenance action is performed on the door, the door also needs to be inspected.
How Can I Tell If a Fire Door Has Been Recently Serviced?
Actually, a fire door service is more than a simple visual check. It is an official procedure that requires a detailed record of when the test took place, what was covered, and any maintenance or servicing that was performed in accordance with NFPA 80 5.2.2.
The record is actually pretty extensive and must include the inspection date and the details of who performed the inspection (whether an individual or a professional fire protection company). It isn’t just limited to a facility overview either. A record must be kept for each and every fire door. Any deficiencies must be annotated and logged.
Once an inspection is complete and a door certified as ‘passed’, an inspection mark is normally applied to the door assembly.
Fire Door Service – The Easy Way
The above may sound very involved and quite detailed. That is because it is important. If you have a large number of fire doors in a sizeable building, then it can be difficult to keep track and ensure complete compliance.
A professional fire protection service. They can offer detailed record keeping along with extremely thorough fire door servicing. What’s more, a good company will be able to fit new fire doors quickly and easily, should the current models be substandard.
Fraker Fire Protection, based in Los Angeles, can offer fire protection consultations for all fire protection equipment, including fire doors. With years of experience and certified inspectors, fully conversant in all NFPA codes, we are a logical choice to assess your fire protection and can even recommend and fit improvements.