Do you know your fire doors from your fire exits?
The first difference is where they’re fitted; generally speaking, fire doors are fitted internally. They act as a barrier to prevent the spread of fire and smoke and facilitate the safe evacuation of any persons on the premises in an emergency. Fire exits usually lead to the outside of the building and are the final route of escape to the designated assembly point(s).
Next, the fire rating – any fire door must have a proven fire rating that is compatible with the total evacuation time of the building it is located within. If it would take a person an hour to safely escape the building, the fire door must be rated and tested up to at least 60 minutes for it to meet regulations. Fire exits do not need to have any fire rating.
The hardware of a fire door must include 3x Annex B BS EN 1935 compliant hinges, a suitable CE marked closer, a CE marked latch that holds the door(s) closed or, failing that, a CE marked lock appropriate for the location. Again, these elements can vary from door to door depending on the building but, as a general rule of thumb, these are the specified guides. A fire exit needs to have panic hardware; designed to allow fast and unencumbered exit from a doorway. Panic hardware works by releasing the latch within the door to make it easy to open and escape through.
The simplest way to remember it is
Fire door = Protection
Fire Exit = Escape
For more information on the importance of fire door safety, read our previous blog post here.