Fire Doors – Checked Yours Lately?

As a landlord you have a number of legal responsibilities to ensure the safety of your tenants.  One of the most important can be fire safety especially if you have to provide fire doors, for instance, in houses of multiple occupation (HMO) or blocks of flats.   Did you now that fire doors have a number of purposes including helping to contain and isolate toxic gases as well as the fire itself and also to help slow down the spread of the fire to other parts of the building.

But do you know a fire door from a standard door?

Here are five tips to help you identify and check your fire door:

  1. Is it Labelled? – there should be a label or plug usually on the top of the door which will show it’s a certificated fire door.
  2. Mind the Gap! – when the door is closed the gaps around the top and sides of the door should be less than 4mm.  A good test is to insert a pound coin, which is approximately 3mm thick, sideways into the gap which will give you an idea of the gap size.  The gap under the door can be wider – usually up to about 8mm.  As a rough guide if you can see light under the door then the gap is probably too big.  Don’t forget that if any of the gaps are too big it can allow fire and smoke to move through and potentially spread to other areas.
  3. Seal of approval! – check your seals.  You should have either an intumescent strip or a smoke seal, and sometimes you may even have both.  To be affective these trips need to be undamaged.  So what’s the difference?  An intumescent strip is designed to expand and seal the gap around your door when exposed to the extreme heat of a fire.  Smoke stripes, on the other hand, simply provide a barrier to the spread of the toxic smoke given off by the fire. 
  4. What does it Hinge on? – There should be at least three of them. Sounds obvious but check that they are fixed firmly to the frame, there are no missing or damaged screws.
  5. Get Some Closure – a door closure is designed to ensure that a fire door is always kept closed when not in use.  To check how affective the closure mechanism is working, simply open the door about halfway and let go, the door should automatically close firmly on the latch without catching on the floor, door frame or latch.  Don’t forget a fire door only works if it’s closed and is pointless if it’s propped open, damaged or doesn’t  close properly.

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