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Fire Door

Last updated: December 15, 2019

What Does Fire Door Mean?

A fire door is a type of door that has been built to withstand direct exposure to fire for an extended period without allowing the fire to move to the other side of the door. They are typically comprised of a solid timber main door, along with numerous other components (e.g., the door hinges) that are purpose-built for use with fire doors. Fire doors are primarily used to prevent fires from spreading, to act as a heat shield, and to protect emergency exits and shelters.

The correct use of fire doors—as well as the specifications to which they must be built—is governed by a variety of safety codes, especially local building and fire codes. National and international consensus standards such as the NFPA codes (United States) and the International Fire Code (IFC) also contain requirements for the use of fire doors. These standards typically apply to commercial residential buildings such as apartments, as well as to non-residential workplace buildings such as industrial facilities.

Safeopedia Explains Fire Door

Every component of a certified fire door must be recognized as being compliant with relevant standards. This includes the hinges and handle, the door-closing apparatus, and any windows used within the door. Fire doors also feature seals around their edges that expand when exposed to high heat (>200°C / 392°F) to completely seal off the door. Additionally, the timber that the door is exposed to is often covered by a fire-resistant glass or other cladding.

Occupational health and safety authorities typically enforce fire door standards through recognition of various consensus and building standards (e.g., OSHA recognition of NFPA standards) and through their own task-specific standards. For instance, OSHA standard 1910.36 (“design and construction of exit routes”) requires that a self-closing fire door protect every emergency exit. Furthermore, the standard requires that each fire door used must be listed or approved by a nationally recognized testing laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories, TUV Rheinland, or CSA International.

The proper methodology for testing and certifying fire doors is prescribed by international consensus standards ASTM E119 (“Standard Test Methods for Fire Tests of Building Construction and Materials”) and ANSI 263, which require the door to be able to withstand a specific time-temperature curve for an extended period. Doors are rated in minutes for the length of time they are able to withstand the exposure to the test heat. A door’s certification is valid only if it has been correctly installed and maintained, the requirements for which are also prescribed by consensus standards (e.g., NFPA 80).


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