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Fire Door Safety Week: Five Step Fire Door Check

September 2021

The importance of possessing a thoroughly consistent fire policy is critical in maintaining an exemplary health and safety standard. The threat of fire in the workplace, especially in the office setting, is often overlooked because of the under-reported danger of fire. 

The use and importance of a fire door policy are even more vital in the event of a fire. The most overlooked aspect of the fire door is that it must remain closed at all times unless displayed otherwise. Because of the nature of everyday life, people will walk past an open fire door without even questioning it.

The biggest obstacle we must overcome is knowing we can all do more to better understand the correct measures and policies to help save lives. This piece will outline the 'Five Step Fire Door Check' created by British Woodworking Federation, helping us understand the safest fire door strategies. 

The impact of fire doors has become more prevalent in recent years. Notably, recently in the Grenfell Tower disaster. When called to offer their personal accounts of the events, several survivors believed fire door problems were endemic

Before we get into the checks, it is essential to remember every fire door must receive regular inspections from trained and registered professionals to ensure its safety. Fire doors in places with high volumes of traffic can become damaged over time. By guaranteeing an inspection takes place twice a year, fire doors will never drop below the necessary standard. 
 

1. Certification

 

This may sound bland, but understanding that on-site fire doors are fully certified is essential. There should be a certification on a label, plug or a similar marking displaying relevant instructions. It is important to remember that all ironmongery such as latches or locks MUST be UKCA or CE conformity marked. Remember that if you don't check the certification, you can not be sure the door is a fire door. If you find the door is not a certified fire door, the door must be replaced immediately. 
 

2. Apertures 


Any altering of the door for glazing or air transfer will make the certification VOID. Keep in mind that if you make any alterations to a fire door that could jeopardise its impact, any certification will be invalid. If you are planning any adjustments to a fire door, evaluate how the change could impact your safety and those around you. 
 

3. Gaps and Seals


It is vitally important that any gaps are checked. This is to ensure the gap around the door is consistent around the door. The gap must remain 3mm-4mm, and the UKCA or CE conformity marked hinges are confidently attached with no missing screws. Ensure all are fitted at the top and the sides of the door. Remember, the seals are expected to expand in a fire and prevent the fire from reaching the other side of the fire door. If the seals do not expand, you must report them to your superiors immediately. To ensure the seals work, check for any damage regularly. It is also essential a check is conducted on the gaps around each side of the door. It is recommended that the gaps are no more significant than 4mm. To safely measure with a scale, use a £1 coin (3mm thick) and compare the size. If the gap is noticeably more significant, report the gap(s) immediately. 
 

4. Closers 


Check that the door closer actually shuts the door. Door closers can frustrate even the most patient of us, especially if they are very slow and loud. It is vitally important the door closes from any position. Simply put, if the door needs to be shut, it must be shut. Be sure to check the closer has successfully closed the door from about 75mm off the closed position. It should also be said that people have become accustomed to walking past wedged open fire doors in the workplace. Remember, fire doors only work when they are closed, so ensure nothing keeps the fire door open and closed at all times. You can test if the fire door is shut correctly by opening it then letting the door close by itself. If the door doesn't close properly, it is vitally important you report it immediately. 
 

5. Operation


This check is often considered the easiest and the most overlooked. Use this step to evaluate all the four other steps before finishing the overall assessment. The operation stage mainly focuses on whether the fire door can shut completely. This stage works in tandem with checks three and four. The door will not close correctly; if there is a gap too big, smoke will be able to seep through. Likewise, if the closer cannot close the fire door completely, you must report that the operation of the fire door is not working and must be adhered to. 

Fire Door Safety Week or #FDSW21 begins on 20 September and lasts until 26 September. There has never been a more important time to better your understanding of fire safety. If you want more information about Fire Door Safety Week and how you can spread awareness about fire door safety, check out the official website

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