Fire Doors Must be Maintained for Optimal Safety
Fire doors are fundamental to a building’s safety , yet their care and maintenance is often overlooked. Annual inspection is extremely important (it’s mandated, in fact) because any minor defect pertaining to the door, hardware, or auxiliary accessories of a fire-door assembly may cause it to fail in the event of a real fire, thus leaving the building unprotected from the risk of fire. Fire doors that are not given proper inspection and maintenance are significantly less likely to effectively protect against the spread of fire and smoke. Perhaps the most common failure mode of fire doors in the event of a fire is the door’s failure to close. Other factors that may cause a fire rated opening to fail are:
- Painted or missing fire door labels
- Poor clearance dimensions around the closed door’s perimeter
- Kick-down door holders
- Supporting hardware items that interfere with the door’s intended function (i.e. dead bolts)
- Fire door is blocked to stay open
- Surrounding area of the door assembly is blocked by objects (i.e. furniture, boxes)
- Broken, defective, or missing hardware items
- Fire-door hardware installed on doors that aren’t labeled for use with fire-exit hardware
- Missing or incorrect fasteners
- Bottom flush bolts that do not project 1/2″ into the strike
To avoid fire door failure, maintenance and engineering managers need to implement preventive maintenance programs for fire doors in accordance with locally adopted codes and national standards as set forth by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
NFPA 80 is a standard that regulates the installation and maintenance of assemblies and devices used to protect openings in walls, floors, and ceilings against the spread of fire and smoke within, into, or out of buildings. It applies to many opening protection systems, including fire doors, fire windows, fabric fire safety curtains, and fire dampers. The latest edition of NFPA 80 was adopted this past summer, 2010- before that, 2007. The 2010 edition has modified requirements for installation, testing, and maintenance of glazing materials in various assemblies and applications.
If you have questions about your building’s fire doors and whether or not they are meeting NFPA standards, please do not hesitate to contact Todd Bowman or Josh Duncan at H&G/Schultz Door. Todd and Josh have successfully completed Intertek’s (Warnok Hersey) comprehensive training and certification program for individuals performing inspections of swinging fire doors with builder’s hardware. This Fire & Egress Door Inspection class (FDAIc) is designed to train inspectors in performing and documenting the inspections. During the survey process, our staff will meet with the building owner and AHJ to determine local requirements and provide the appropriate solution. Should anything need to be brought up to code, H&G/Schultz Door is qualified to supply and install fire doors and hardware. Our experienced installation technicians will take time to explain maintenance procedures that will extend the life of the opening and keep it functioning correctly in the event of an emergency. Installed doors and hardware are also backed by an uncompromising service package from H&G/Schultz Door.
When we install and service fire doors, we take extra care to educate our customers about fire door regulations. It’s important to work with a door and hardware solutions provider that is familiar with NFPA standards and how to ensure the safety of your building’s occupants.