Shutting the door on fire and smoke

Mon 24 Sep, 2018

Fire door safety checklist

Have you seen a fire door that’s damaged, poorly maintained or being propped open? Report it to your landlord or building manager straight away, as it could be the difference between life or death in the event of a fire.

That’s the message from Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service at the start of Fire Door Safety Week, which runs until Sunday 30 September.

Fire doors are needed inside a variety of buildings, including flats, shops, offices, factories, hospitals, schools, care homes, bars, restaurants, libraries and sports centres.

They help to compartmentalise a building, such as a block of flats, keeping fire and smoke trapped for a while in one area, so that people can be safely evacuated and the fire can be tackled.

Fire doors, which are not necessarily fire exit doors, can be identified by a blue “Fire door keep shut” sign often at eye level.

Group Commander Phill Mould said: “Fire doors are often the first line of defence in a fire, but they remain a significant area of neglect.

“They are often the first thing to be downgraded on a specification, and mismanaged or mistreated throughout their service life.

“Fire door breaches are still one of the most common fines implemented under the Fire Safety Order, more than 10 years since this law was introduced.”

“If you’ve seen a damaged fire door or know of a flat entrance door that hasn’t been checked for fire performance, report it to your landlord or building manager straight away, and if you see a fire door propped open, make sure you shut it – a fire door cannot work when open.”

A simple five-step fire door check (see above and below) will show you what to look out for. If you report something to your landlord or building manager and are not satisfied with the outcome, pass the details to Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service using one of these numbers:

  • Aylesbury Vale/Chiltern: 01296 744400
  • Wycombe/South Bucks: 01628 470640
  • Milton Keynes: 01908 236413

Five-step fire door check

  • Check for certification. Is there a label or plug on top (or occasionally on the side) of the door to show it is a certificated fire door? 

  • Check the gaps. The gaps around the top and sides of the door should be less than 4mm when closed.

  • Check the seals. Are there any intumescent seals around the door or frame, and are they intact with no sign of damage? 

  • Check the hinges. Are the hinges firmly fixed (three or more of them), with no missing or broken screws?

  • Check the door closes properly. Open the door about halfway, let go and allow it to close by itself. Does it close firmly on to the latch without sticking on the floor or the frame? 

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