As more and more of us are now going back to the workplace, it’s time to start making sure that general H&S issues are up to scratch—as so much of our attention has been focusing on the COVID situation in the last 12 months. Fire protection measures are those building into your building which do not prevent a fire from occurring, but they do minimise or slow its spread to allow your employees to exit safely.
Fire doors are provided to control smoke and to protect the means of escape. They are also used for compartmentalisation and the protection of special risk areas. It is essential that the fire door selected is suitable for its location and of sufficient size. The resistance of fire doors is determined using the test described in the British Standard BS476-22 or BS EN 1634-1.
All fire doors provided for the protection of escape routes should be fitted with smoke seals. In the early stages of a fire, smoke control should not depend on rebated door frames as doors are likely to warp, or heat activated seals which operate too late to protect an escape route. Fire doors provided for smoke control purposes should be capable of withstanding all smoke at ambient temperatures and a limited amount of smoke at medium temperatures.
Fire doors provided to protect the means of escape should be capable of resisting fire for 30 minutes, and withstanding all smoke at ambient temperatures and a limited amount of smoke at medium temperatures. (Labelling FD30 = will resist cracking for at least 30 minutes, with the suffix S means it will resist the passage of smoke.)
Smoke stop doors are designed to restrict smoke movement, they need not be fire resisting. All must be self-closing, in a good fitting frame with a draught excluder fitted.
Depending on the material and method of construction, different doors will withstand fire for different period of time.
- FD30 – 30 minutes
- FD60 – 60 minutes
- FD90 – 90 minutes
- FD120 – 120 minutes
Protection of over 4 hours can be achieved using steel or iron construction, however most fire doors are constructed of wood with a solid core of particle board, chipboard, flax board or a solid timber core and also fitted with an intumescent strip.
Intumescent strips are used with wooden doors, the strip can be fitted into the door frame or the door itself. This swells with heat, expanding to fill the gaps and reduce the spread of fumes, smoke etc. They must be protected from vandalism and damage, or else they will not work correctly when they are needed.
Internal fire doors should have closers fitted at the top of the door, these must be suitable for the size and strength of the door and allow the door to shut fully whatever the circumstances. The fire closer should shut around the fire or smoke seals.
In the main fire door closers are located at the top of the fire door, but there are floors or lower spring versions which can be used, these normally have a slight delay before the door shuts.
Sliding and roller shutter doors are not generally recognised as fire escape doors, but in some cases due to the nature of the building they may be used. For instance in the case of large green houses used in horticulture which traditionally due to the building structure type have sliding doors.
In double doors a door co-ordinator may be needed, these are used when the two doors need to close in a specific order to ensure they shut and form a seal.
All fire doors are there to assist the integrity of the means of escape, so it is important that they and their surrounding frames are maintained in good condition with no holes or damage which could allow heat and smoke through. With intumescent strips in place and in good condition.
Want to learn more about fire safety and intumescent strips, you can contact our team at Cambridge Safety. We have a range of fire safety course such as the NEEBOSH Fire Certificate, that will help you become an expert in no time.
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