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This September, Fire Door Safety Week 2014 (15-21 September) aims to raise awareness of fire safety and the importance of recognising fire doors as a safety device. Chris Miller, product manager at JELD-WEN explains why fire doors are the ultimate life saver and how, as trade professionals, it’s crucial to install fire doors correctly to ensure their effectiveness.
Fire doors are specifically designed to save lives by reducing the rate at which fire spreads through a building, providing time for occupants to escape safely. So it’s essential to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure that they fit properly and perform correctly in the event of a fire. They are available in a range of ratings that indicate how long the product can withstand heat and flames. The minimum rating is FD30 doors that protect life and offer 30 minutes fire resistance. Higher specification FD60 doors are also available, providing additional time and protection.
Fire doors are fitted with an intumescent strip along the sides and top of the door or door frame, which lies dormant during everyday use, but rapidly expands when exposed to extreme heat to seal the gap between door and door frame. This barrier against fire explains why it is so important that a fire door is kept closed at all times, ensuring a clear route to safety in the event of a fire.
The latest regulations stipulate when a fire door should be installed so it’s important to keep updated on the latest changes. Be sure to check that the door installed has the correct certification for its intended use and it is installed, and maintained, by competent personnel. A fire door should be closed and a fire door closer must remain connected at all times.
As fire doors are typically thicker than standard doors, trade professionals are often forced to replace both the door and the door frame, adding to the complexity and cost of the project. To combat this, JELD-WEN has developed an exclusive collection of FireGuard® FD30 doors that offer 30 minutes fire protection, but are within the standard 35mm thick door construction – so it’s simply a case of changing the doors using the existing frames and linings.
The FireGuard® range is also available in various designs, making fire safety practical, affordable and stylish.
It’s critical that fire doors, frames and components are purchased from certified companies and are rated by the British Woodworking Federation BWF-CERTIFIRE scheme, which demonstrates that the door specifications and manufacturing methods have been assessed rigorously and audited regularly to ensure compliance with the highest safety standards. Doors that reach this standard can be identified by the BWF-CERTIFIRE label on the top edge of the door and ironmongery components must hold a CE mark.
In most instances fire doors can be trimmed, but the amount can vary so check the instructions - it’s important not to trim the top of the door as the CERTIFIRE label must not be removed. It’s also essential that a fire door is not altered on site and never cut holes or glazing apertures into a fire door, unless certified to do so. It’s crucial to check that there is a consistent gap between 3 and 4mm between the door and door frame and that any gaps around the outside of the frame are sealed with intumescent material to prevent the fire from rapidly spreading.
Finally it is important that the correct CE marked Certifire approved components are used – hinges, letterplates, closers, locks and latches.