A fire door is a sealed door between two compartments. It is designed in a manner to prevent or slow down the spread of a fire. These doors are often installed in commercial structures and are made up of different materials. The requirements for these doors are set by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Thus, all buildings installing a fire door have to ensure NFPA compliance. Some of them most important regulations are:
Fire ratings determine the amount of time that the door is able to contain the spread of a fire. This is generally tested by theNFPA. The rating requirements of each door in a particular building are either set by the building codes or a fire marshal. Usually, most doors have a two hour rating i.e. when a fire breaks out, the doors will resist combustion for a couple of hours. Apart from this, the doors have three quarter of a rating as compared to the surrounding wall. For instance, a wall with a two hour rating will usually be ideal to install a door with a 90 minute rating.
All fire doors are required to have testing labels as evidence that they have met all the testing requirements. This label can only be provided by a certified testing agency and may either be embossed or mechanically fastened to the door. The duration of the fire resistance of the door should be clearly mentioned on the label and it must not be tampered with in any way.
Frame and Door Requirements
Wooden and steel fire doors both have different requirements. Wooden fire doors must have mineral cores or solid wood, whereas, steel fire doors are required to have honeycombed or insulated cores. Also, no holes larger than 1 inch in diameter can be drilled in these doors. The door frames must also be factory made and contain at least 16-gauge steel.
Fail-Secures and Fail-Safes
Self latching and self closing are two essential properties of a fire door. This means that the doors will close and latch automatically in case of a fire.
For this purpose, a closer or spring hinge and fire rated lockset or exit device is used in these doors. Additionally, any electric locks used on fire doors must also be fail safe, but never fail secure, i.e. fire doors should automatically unlock to save lives rather than remaining locked to save the property.
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