Fire doors are among the most vital safety measures in an enclosed space. They are often the difference between life and death in the event of a fire breakout. That alone is reason enough why they should be inspected and maintained periodically. However, a significant number of Fire Risk Assessments show that buildings, or rather the authorities in charge of those buildings, continually neglect the maintenance of their fire safety doors. Here we learn what a fire safety door does and why fire door maintenance should be of utmost priority.
How do fire doors work?
A fire door is not just another door. It’s considered a part of fire safety equipment and is made of high-quality materials that adhere to fire safety benchmarks. Fire doors prove immensely useful in providing fire protection for escape routes like staircases and corridors.
How does this happen? Well, consider you’re stuck in a long corridor with the fire chasing you on one side and you have nowhere else to go. Had there been a fire door in the corridor, it could have contained the fire’s spread and given you just enough breathing room.
Fire door installation is done at strategic points throughout a building to subdivide it into several compartments. These compartments contain the spread of the fire and help trapped people to escape the building. At the same time, they also provide firefighters an invaluable time window to limit the fire and execute any rescue operations. In addition to saving human lives, fire doors can also limit the damage to equipment vital for the functioning of businesses.
How to maintain a fire door?
Once the installation is completed, the focus should turn towards checking the fire door safety regularly. Experts advise that fire doors must be accorded the same importance as fire alarms and fire extinguishers. As for fire door inspection frequency, it depends upon the building and the number of people that use it on a daily basis. Structures that see a lot of footfalls daily, like schools, hospitals, and malls, should get their fire doors inspected and maintained more frequently.
Should you hire a maintenance service?
Fire door contractors usually also offer regular maintenance services. You can check with the contractor who installed your doors and sign-up for their periodic fire door maintenance service. This way, you won’t have to get into the nitty-gritty of the task and can leave everything to the maintenance service provider.
That said, you should also keep a record of all maintenance work that has been carried out on your fire safety doors. Assign every fire door in your premises a unique reference ID or number and use it to maintain a log. Doing this would prove useful when your fire safety system is audited.
Why is it important to maintain your fire doors?
In the normal order of things, most of us tend to ignore fire doors. It’s easy to find the fire doors of many buildings either wedged open or damaged at multiple points. While this won’t be a problem in daily life or even during planned fire drills, it can have serious repercussions during an actual fire accident.
Airflow and draughts have a huge influence on the progression of a fire. Typically, fire tends to spread along the path that offers the least resistance. So when a fire comes across a wedged open or propped fire door, it breaks through almost instantaneously. During an actual fire accident, this could close the escape route for a lot of people trying to reach for safety. A regularly maintained fire door, on the other hand, will save a lot of lives in the same situation by holding back the fire and smoke for a longer duration.
Maintaining your fire doors is an obligation that you owe to each and every person stepping into your building, and their respective families. The moral responsibility of it, as such, far outweighs the legal ramifications of not doing so.