Fire safety is crucially important. Irrespective of whether a building is commercial or residential, fire safety should be taken seriously in all instances.
Hodgson Sealants are strong advocates of safety of all kinds, especially fire protection, which is why we are proud supporters of Fire Door Safety Week (FDSW): an annual scheme that promotes and raises awareness. As well as a general overview of fire security, there is also a theme the scheme focuses on each year. The topic for 2018 is ‘Fire Door Five: shutting the door on smoke and fire’. To learn more about Fire Door Safety Week, visit their website.
In-line with the Fire Door Five topic, FDSW has created five easy checks you can follow to test to see if your door is a functional, working fire door that will protect you in case of an emergency. These five guidelines are supported by the British Woodworking Federation (BWF), tested by industry experts, and are a clear and precise guide to fire safety.
Step 1: Check for certification
Working and approved fire doors should have some form of certification clearly labelled on the door, usually at the top or the side edge of the door in sticker form. On this sticker, there will be information about the certifier/manufacturer (including their contact details), the fire door rating, the fire certification number and the unique sequential number. This information is also crucially important to confirm that your fire door has been properly certified and has passed all the relevant tests. It is also important to note that if you cannot see a sticker or certification label anywhere on the door, you must report this to your fire safety officer or the building owner. There should also be a label or sign on the face of the door indicating that it is a fire door. It is usually a small circular metal sign or a large green label saying, ‘Fire Door’.
Step 2: Check the gaps
There should be gaps of 3mm around the sides and top of the door when the door is fully closed. This is the correct, exact size that is required to enable the intumescent seals to expand to fit and seal the gaps securely in a fire situation. This seal prevents smoke and fire from breaking through. If the gaps are not the correct size, the likeliness of smoke and fire entry is far greater. The gap under the door is often slightly larger to accommodate for different floor types: the gap can reach up to 8mm. Top tip: if you are testing the gaps of the side and the top and don’t have a BWF measurer, use a £1 coin, which is approximately 3mm in width and an ideal measure to use.
Step 3: Check the seals
In the structure and the side of the door and frame there should be intumescent and smoke seals correctly installed. These seals should be in good condition with no breaks, cracks or gaps; they also need to be the full length of the door and frame, and fully secured in the groove. This is vitally important in a critical fire situation, so the intumescent seals expand fully and prevent all smoke and fire from spreading through the gaps. If any seals have been damaged or have breaks, these must be replaced immediately; during replacement, it is important that they are fitted in one continuous length, and they are of the exact same material as previously specified to ensure it matches the manufacturer’s guidelines.
Step 4: Check hinges
The hinges of the door also need to be well maintained and checked regularly. Checks need to be done to ensure the metal hinges are in good condition, examining for any visible stains, marks or wear around the hinge knuckle, which could indicate excessive wear and impending failure. The hinges themselves must be fire-rated, as should the screws. Check that these hinges are fastened securely into the frame and door, with no missing screws. BWF, FDSW and other leading fire regulators recommend you should have three hinges installed on each door to ensure the greatest amount of protection.
Step 5: Check the door closes
It is vitally important that your door closes fully without force: this failure is one the most common indicators of a failing fire door. If your door doesn’t close correctly or with ease, it becomes completely useless in a fire, meaning that none of the other factors explained above will apply. An easy check to see if this is an issue is to open your door halfway, then let it go to see whether it closes by itself FULLY without snagging or sticking to the floor or frame. If you have concerns, you must raise these with your fire safety officer or landlord.
These are simple, quick and easy checks that can save lives. We urge you to take five minutes to check all the fire doors in your building to ensure they are fully-functioning and prepared for an emergency, such as a fire.
At Hodgson Sealants, our wide range of fire rated systems include protective tapes and sealants. These systems are formulated for bonding and sealing, with excellent fire protection properties; they are fast acting agents in the case of a fire, preventing fire and smoke entering through the gaps in the doors. Our fire resistant sealant products are designed to resist the passage of smoke and fire from a minimum of 30 minutes and up to four hours. Our Firestrip® 30 and Firestrip® 60 products are approved under the BWF’s independent Certifire scheme. We also have the newly developed Fire foam, specifically formulated to expand to seal the gaps in the case of the fire. View our broad, effective range of fire protection products here.
If you do have any concerns, please speak to your fire safety officer, site manager or landlord.
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