How Regular Fire Door Inspections Can Save Lives and Property

9 April 2024

In the world of fire safety, one thing that doesn’t get enough credit is the fire door. These doors quietly do a crucial job – stopping fires from spreading quickly and containing smoke and gases. They give first responders at the site extra time to reach those in trouble. But here’s the catch: they need regular checks to work properly. This blog post breaks down why scheduling fire door inspections regularly is a must for keeping people safe and protecting property.

The Anatomy of a Fire Door

Before delving into the significance of regular inspections, it’s imperative to understand the anatomy of a fire door. A fire door is not your average door; it is purposefully designed and constructed to withstand the intense heat and pressure generated during a fire.

Comprising fire-resistant materials such as steel or solid timber, fire doors come equipped with intumescent seals that expand under heat, preventing smoke and flames from penetrating. The door’s hardware, including hinges, latches, and closing devices, is also specially designed to ensure the door closes securely.

These features collectively make fire doors a crucial element in compartmentalising a building, slowing down the progression of fire and allowing occupants time to evacuate safely.

The Importance of Regular Inspections

Ensuring Proper Functionality

Over time, wear and tear can compromise the integrity of fire doors. This is especially true of doors in public-facing buildings like schools and hotels that have high foot traffic. Regular inspections are vital to ensure that all components, including hinges, latches, and closing mechanisms, are in optimal working condition. Any malfunction can render the door ineffective, allowing smoke and flames to spread unhindered.

Checking Signage and Accessibility

Fire doors often serve as emergency exits, and clear signage is crucial for swift evacuation. Regular inspections encompass checking that signage is visible and legible. Additionally, inspectors ensure that the door’s path is unobstructed, allowing for easy and immediate access during an emergency. This is even more important in buildings where children or vulnerable people will be present. Having a clear and efficient evacuation plan coupled with proper signage ensures everyone can be safe in the event of an emergency.

Testing Seals

The intumescent seals on a fire door are a vital part of their design. In the event of a fire, they expand to create a barrier against smoke and flames. However, these seals can deteriorate over time. This can be due to factors like exposure to environmental elements, general wear and tear and temperature fluctuations. Regular inspections include testing these seals to ensure they are intact and functional. If any issues are detected, prompt action can be taken to replace or repair the seals.

Addressing Damage

Fire doors are susceptible to damage, whether from accidental impacts, vandalism, or general wear. Regular inspections help identify any visible signs of damage, such as cracks, dents, or warping, which could compromise the door’s ability to perform during a fire. It also stops small issues from worsening, lowering costs and increasing the lifespan of doors.

Compliance

Fire safety regulations and standards require fire doors to be inspected regularly. Compliance with these regulations is not only a legal requirement but also crucial for the safety of occupants and the protection of property. Failing to adhere to these standards can lead to legal consequences and, more importantly, compromise the safety of individuals within the premises.

Cost Effectiveness

Regular fire door inspections – especially on larger properties – can be costly. However, they help you to catch small issues before they fester. Doors, when proactively maintained, can last years longer than those that’ve been mistreated. It’s also important to swiftly take action after an inspection, assigning jobs to contractors to keep your doors working for longer. 

A ‘Risk-Based’ Approach to Fire Door Inspections

An alarming 75% of fire doors in the commercial sector fall short of the required standards, meaning many businesses are putting their property and building users at risk. At Total Fire Group, we take a different approach from most companies as our fire door inspections are more risk-based and not just about failing every door. We take every aspect of the fire door into consideration, from its location in the building to the hinges and frames to the seals and signage, assessing the efficiency of your doors for their intended purpose.

In the past year, fire door inspections have become a hot topic. The January 2023 regulation changes for residential fire doors meant they must be checked more frequently. However, this can create a lot of extra work – from the inspections themselves to the subsequent record keeping. Here at Total Fire Group, we have over 20 years of experience in the fire safety industry. We also use our very own fire door inspection software to complete checks and manage the output. Developed by our team of experts with efficiency and usability in mind, it is a revolutionary tool in the fire safety sector. So, to up your fire door inspection game and have the assurance of expert inspectors, contact our team today.

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