What is a fire door?
Fire doors create a barrier from fire and toxic smoke. They prevent them from travelling around a building during a fire. This keeps the damage to a small area, allowing for evacuation, stay put and safe access for the emergency services.
In a block of flats you will find fire and smoke doors on the stairwells, the corridors and on the flat front doors. You will also see them protecting areas where there’s a risk of combustion, such as bin storage or mains electricity service cupboard. Sometimes you will find fire doors inside flats, but this depends on the specific design and layout of the individual flat.
If your front door faces onto a common area in the building, it needs to be a fire door. It’s vital that it works properly when a fire breaks out, so it’s important that your flat front door is a fire door, it is fit for purpose and can be regularly inspected and maintained.
If you are a leasehold customer, you have responsibility to ensure that a suitable fire rated door with all of its compatible components is fitted.
Your fire door is made up of key components. These include the door itself, the frame and the furniture attached to the door. Door furniture comprises of hinges, handles, locks, spy holes, letter boxes and door knockers. Fire door designs undergo rigorous testing be door furniture.
If any one of these elements is missing/damaged or replaced with unspecified furniture, then this could affect the doors’ ability to restrict the spread of fire or smoke.
Here are some things that you can do to help ensure that fire doors are working properly:
- A door closer should be fitted and this should close the door fully within the frame from any angle. Without a fully functioning door closer a fire door is unable to do its job as the door could be left open and would not afford any protection in the event of a fire
- Fire doors should never be propped or wedged open under any circumstance.
- Doors and frames should be free from visual damage
- Door furniture such as handles, spy holes, letter boxes and hinges should be present and should be free from damage or missing parts
- Strips are fitted either into the door or the rebate of the door frame. These strips ensure the door is effectively sealed in a fire situation. These strips should run around the sides and top of the door or frame
- No light should be visible around the edge of the door when it is closed
- Glazing should not be cracked or broken.
Please refrain from undertaking any repairs or modifications to your flat door yourself. This includes:
- Drilling the door frame to install cabling
- Screwing into the door or frame to add additional furniture or decoration
- Replacing existing furniture with new furniture
- Replacing or covering glazing panels.
The fire doors within the communal areas of the building also serve an important function by creating an additional sealed compartment and protection of escape routes. All communal doors should be fitted with a door closer which should fully close the door into the frame.
Normally, these doors will be closed all of the time, however, some doors have automatic hold open devices which enable fire doors to remain open during normal conditions. This aids movement around the building. In the event of a fire, these devices are linked to the fire alarm system and will automatically release the doors so they close to form a sealed compartment.
If you notice a fire door does not close fully or has visual signs of damage to the door, frame, hardware or glazing then please report this as a matter of urgency, by calling 0345 065 5656.
If you are a leaseholder you will be responsible for ensuring your door meets the required standard and is maintained accordingly.