In 2018, U.S. fire departments responded to 1,318,500 fires. Only when a fire or emergency actually occurs do most people truly appreciate fire-rated doors. In the event of a fire, fire-rated doors serve an important role in keeping flames and smoke from spreading to different parts of the building and allowing the building occupants to safely egress.
Here is some of what you need to know.
What is a fire-rated coiling door?
Fire-rated coiling doors are specially designed to automatically close in the event of a fire in order to slow or prevent the spread of fire and smoke throughout the building. The fire-rated doors are constructed to withstand the extreme heat of fires for periods of one hour to four hours. These passive fire protection systems are designed to protect an opening with a fire-rated barrier. A fire-rated door is built with high grade steel and many manufactures use mineral wool in their slats for insulated door models. Coiling fire doors are not always noticeable at first but are very common in commercial buildings such as commercial kitchens, multi-family homes or apartments, manufacturing facilities and office buildings.
Though they must meet certain safety standards, fire doors may be used for normal daily use at exterior entry points and interior locations within the building. A fire-rated door is often utilized in architectural design so that a building can achieve safety codes while still preserving design aesthetics.
What will they provide during a fire?
While not completely fireproof, fire-rated doors will slow or prevent fire and smoke from spreading throughout the building. Containing the fire gives building tenants the time they need to safely egress and first responders the critical time they need to stop the fire before it gets too great to control. Slowing the spread of smoke is at times more critical as smoke inhalation is typically what causes fatalities first and does the most damage to a building. The better a fire is contained will allow the fire to be put out with reduced damage to property.
Since the fire door is designed close automatically when a fire is detected, these doors are an important piece of a building’s passive fire protection system. Interior fire doors help block or delay the spread of heat, smoke, and flames through hallways, stairwells and between sections of the building. Exterior fire protection doors are heat resistant and allow for quick exits in case of an emergency.
A Few Common Questions
- Do fire doors need to be closed at all times?
Some interior fire doors can remain open, as long as they will automatically close in the event of an emergency. If the door is not equipped with an automatic closing device, it should not be propped open. While it can be convenient to put a wedge in to keep a fire door open creating an easy exit or to let in a breeze, an open door can defeat its fire-protection capabilities.
- Should fire doors be locked?
They should not be locked or blocked. That could be dangerous and may even be a violation of safety codes. Finding the doors blocked can be a significant safety hazard, stalling evacuation and causing further panic during an emergency.
- Can we make changes to the door frame or hardware?
Because fire-resistant they are tested as complete door assemblies, permitted onsite modifications are limited.
- When do fire doors need to be replaced?
To ensure that the door is well maintained and continues to provide protection, fire doors should be inspected annually. Though that may fluctuate due to wear and tear. Best to follow the recommended maintenance and repair schedule.
Do you need a fire-rated door?
Fire-rated doors are often required in building codes, but can definitely provide some peace of mind to the property owner. A properly used and installed fire door can make a huge difference in an actual fire. There is almost always a significant difference in the amount of damage to a room when it has an open door versus a closed door versus a closed fire-rated door.
Overhead Door Company of Portland can help business owners determine if fire-rated garage doors and interior doors are needed in their commercial and industrial facilities. Contact us today if you have questions or need to purchase, inspect, or perform maintenance on a fire-rated door.