Fire Door Safety Week – Blog #1

What exactly is a fire door and what makes it work?

For our first blog of the week, we thought we would start with the basics, a door is a door, right?

No, a fire door is an engineered safety device that is a crucial part of the passive fire protection of every commercial, public and multiple occupancy building.  A fire door’s prime purpose is to protect lives and to prevent the passage of fire to other parts of the building or to another building.

Two other important functions of a fire door are:

  • When closed, they form a barrier to stop the spread of fire
  • When opened, they provide a means of escape

You will no doubt have walked past dozens of fire doors every day at work, home, shops and restaurants and you’ve probably never gave them a second thought.  Many of us don’t give fire doors a seconds thought until we need them, when a fire breaks out.

What makes a fire door not just simply a door?

The difference with a general door is that a fire door is a complete assembly comprising of the following components:

Always Required

  • Door leaf
  • Frame / lining
  • Intumescent seals
  • Latch or lock
  • Minimum of 3 Hinges
  • Frame / wall sealing

Required in certain circumstances

  • Smoke seals
  • Door closer
  • Signage
  • Other ironmongery
  • Fire resisting glazing
  • Threshold seals
  • Intumescent grille panels

*All door furniture must comply to British Standard EN 1154.

In the event of a fire, a fire door will not work unless all the right components have been fitted correctly and maintained.

Small differences in detail such as glazing apertures, intumescent seals, door frames and ironmongery may significantly affect the performance of the door. The results of changing the specification or not fitting the correct components could be catastrophic.

How do fire doors work?

Fire doors slow down the escalation of fires and create a protected route to safety.  The approved intumescent strips play a crucial part in achieving the fire door rating.  When subjected to temperatures above 200C the strips expand and seal the gap between the door edge and frame preventing smoke from travelling.

Fire rated hardware, such as hinges and fire rated handles should all be included to ensure the fire door will work as expected.

When a fire door is closed, it will endure direct attack my fire for a specified period of time, giving an indicated level of protection.

Due to the importance of fire doors in protecting lives, it is imperative that they receive regular inspections – ProFire regularly carry out fire door inspections for clients to find out more information on our fire door inspection services please contact us at or take a look at our fire door inspection page.


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