Fire 101: Fire Doors

Written by Désiré Roberts

Written by Désiré Roberts

13 December 2021

Fire doors play a vital role in fire safety. Did you know that over 3 million fire doors are installed in the UK every year? They are an engineered safety device designed to hold back fire, smoke and heat, should be the right level of fire resistance required and only be fitted by a trained and qualified fire door installation professional. 

Would you know if a fire door has been installed properly if you looked at it (assuming that you’re not a trained fire stopping operative)? Should they be open or always shut? How do they work? Find out everything you need to know about fire doors in today’s article! 

Why are fire doors so important? 

In short, fire doors are life saving; and that’s why they are important. They are an important form of passive fire stopping, forming a compartment and creating a safe enough space between a blaze and people so that they can evacuate in time. Most fire doors are made to withstand a fire for at least 30 minutes, depending on the door rating, and that should be enough time to get to safety. They don’t just stop the fire though; they also stop smoke from coming through, slowing the spread of smoke and toxic fumes throughout the building. 

How do fire doors work?

Fire doors are made of a special fire resistant material that can withstand a fire for a certain timeframe, depending on the door’s fire rating. Every fire door is fitted with intumescent strips, which are in a groove on every edge of the door or door frame. When they are heated, they expand to fill the gap between the door and the frame, sealing it off from fire and smoke. This is why fire doors should always be kept closed and fitted with self-closing devices, so that should a fire start, the intumescent strips can expand and seal off the room from the smoke, toxic fumes and fire. 

Is it a legal requirement to have fire doors? 

Fire doors are a legal requirement for all non-domestic properties, so you’ll often find them in businesses, commercial buildings and public premises, but also in residential flats and multi-floor residential buildings. Given the complex nature of fire doors, they must be inspected and maintained regularly by a certified technician. Fire door inspections can flag non-compliant fire doors and prevent a potentially fatal disaster. While privately owned homes aren’t required to have fire doors, they do offer a level of protection that normal doors do not provide. 

Who can fit fire doors? 

Fire doors should be fit by a competent and trained installer, but many aren’t. They aren’t like normal doors, and require a technical understanding of how they work in order to properly fit them. Remember, these are life saving devices and you don’t really want to mess about with them. A badly fit door might not withstand a fire for five minutes, putting your life at risk, which isn’t something you want to do. Always ask questions and use a professional fire door installer who has sufficient training, experience, qualifications and knowledge. 

About Onetrace active and passive fire protection software

Fire door installers should be using an active and passive fire protection software for their transparency and traceability to remain compliant with current 3rd party accreditation standards and provide the necessary documentation to comply with the Golden Thread of Information standards. Onetrace is the perfect fit for those who install fire doors. With built-in QR coding for labels, eliminating the need to handwrite fire door labels, and the ability to do everything you need from your mobile device, while remaining compliant, it’s no wonder that the UK’s fire door installers are all flocking to Onetrace. 

Lightweight, easy to use, and available for the device in your hands, Onetrace’s true remote working active and passive fire protection software is coming to a device near you! Enough talk from us though; you need to see this thing in action first hand, and we guarantee that it will be love at first sight! All you need to do is simply get in touch or request a demo. If you’re not ready to commit, that’s okay – you can try Onetrace completely free for 14 days with zero obligation or commitment. No fuss, no hassle.