Fire has always been the greatest fear of humans, and we have always been in a difficult relationship. Our whole history, we have tried to tame it and use it for our own purposes, but once in a while, a fire would break our chains and go loose, endangering our lives and our property. Fire itself can be quite destructive, and in a matter of seconds, it can double in its size, and it can devour a whole room in only 30 seconds.
When it comes to human health, smoke and toxic gasses produced by fires are also dangerous, since they are silent killers which can easily creep up on us without any signals. The reality is that most people are killed in fires because of the exposure to those gasses which are produced by the combustion of plastics and other materials, present in most offices and workrooms. Most important ways of fighting fire are smoke detectors, which are using different technologies but have the sole task of detecting even the faintest particles of smoke and sounding the alarm. Smoke detectors are only usable if a strict no-smoking policy is enforced. Sprinklers are also important and they can be used to quickly snuff out a fire and prevent it from spreading.
Passive Fire Protection
Other solutions include elements for passive fire protection, such as fire doors. In order for such a delicate system to work, it is essential that fire doors are produced out of high-quality materials which behave in accordance with industry regulations and under great stress and high temperatures. Fire doors are designed to compartmentalize an area and provide a fire-proof barrier between two connected areas. By doing this, fire doors protect the overall health of the building itself and provide a safety measure by preventing fire from spreading and providing proper escape routes.
Fire doors are a part of a passive fire protection system, something which is required in most states by law. Fire resistance rating is extremely important, and any material or utility installed in a separation wall, including fireproof doors, must achieve the minimum level of fire resistance, which is usually the amount of time it can survive and prevent fire from spreading.
The Purpose of Fire Doors
Most of the time, a fire door can act like any other door, but if a fire appears, the role of the fire door is put to the test as a key method of passive fire protection. The fire door is the barrier to hold off the fire, and because of this, fire doors are designed and produced in such a way to ensure all the safety measures are in place so that they can perform as expected. Fire doors must not only prevent fire from spreading, but also prevent smoke and toxic gasses from escaping the room, which includes having a tight seal, something that can only be done by a professional company.
The most important thing is that the fire doors are tested and certified during production and regularly over time, depending on regulations, and a written record should be kept. The testing is done in order to ensure that the doors are operational, that all the parts used are well incorporated, and that they would perform adequately in case of fire. Testing should detect if there is any physical damage done to fire doors and if there are any missing parts that could create a danger during a fire. Hinges, frames and hardware should be aligned and set in such a way as to allow recommended ventilation and sound isolation.
The self-closing device must work as intended, that is, the door should self-close completely from a totally open position. Inspection should also detect any kind of tampering or illegal installations that could prevent a fire door from operating properly, or any other blockage.
Intumescent seals are also usually placed into grooves, and their purpose is to expand when exposed to heat so that its expansion fills the gap between the door and the frame, helping with the containment of fire.
All of this is essential to have a fully working fire door and in order to keep the property and the lives of people there safe. While fire doors cannot endlessly keep fire at bay, and they will eventually fail, their purpose is to hold on as long as possible and to allow all the personnel to evacuate safely and for the emergency services to arrive and to start the process of extinguishing it.