Fire door safety
Fire doors are a really important part of any fire safety strategy.
We’ve put together some useful information about fire doors to help you understand what they are, what they do and why they’re so important.
The simple everyday purpose of a fire door is just like any other door. However, because we can't predict when a fire might start, the fire door must then perform its main purpose which is to protect lives and protect the rest of the building and to other buildings.
Used correctly, they stop fires from spreading through a building, giving people time to escape and the Fire Service time to attend.
If a fire door is properly made and certified, it should hold back a fire for 30 minutes or more.
The parts of a fire door – hinges, seals, handles and glazing – are as important as the door itself because, in a fire, doors can warp and allow smoke and fire through the opening. The seals and the gaps between the door frame and the wall are vital too. They also stop smoke and fire spreading as quickly.
- They’re a legal requirement for flats which open onto communal areas shared with other customers. This is to make sure crucial escape routes are protected if a fire breaks out.
- They’re specifically designed to withstand fire for up to 30 minutes.
- They’re designed to automatically close behind you in the event of fire, holding flames back and stopping the spread of the fire and toxic smoke into escape routes, corridors and other flats in the block. This can help to keep any damage to a small area.
In a block of flats, you’ll find fire and smoke doors on the stairwells, the corridors and on the front of flats.
You’ll also see them protecting areas where there's a risk of combustion, such as bin storage or mains electricity service cupboards.
Sometimes you’ll find fire doors inside flats, but this depends on the specific design and layout of the individual flat.
We have a legal responsibility for the fire doors in the common areas of the building.
You should ask us for fire safety information, specifically about the fire plan for your building, to ensure you're prepared in an emergency.
If your front door faces onto a common area in the building, it needs to be a fire door. It's vital that it works properly if a fire breaks out.
It’s important that this door is regularly inspected and maintained.
If you’re a leaseholder, you should examine the details of your lease and speak to us.
You may find that you have a responsibility to ensure that a suitable fire rated door with all of its compatible components is fitted.
If you suspect a fire door is faulty, there are five checks you can make. If you suspect the door is faulty, report it to us.
- Look for a label or plug on top (or occasionally on the side) of the door. Without a certification mark, you cannot be sure this really is a fire door.
- Check the gaps around the top and sides of the door are consistently less than 4mm when the door’s closed. The gap under the door can be slightly larger - up to 8mm - but it does depend on the door. Ideally, you shouldn’t see light under the door.
- Look for any seals around the door or frame. Check they’re intact with no sign of damage.
- Check all hinges are firmly fixed. There needs to be three or more of them, with no missing or broken screws.
- Check the door closes firmly onto the latch without sticking on the floor or the frame. A fire door only works when it’s closed. A fire door is completely useless if it’s wedged open or can’t close fully.
- All faults need to be reported immediately by calling us on 0800 111 4013.
Never carry out any repairs or work on your fire door. This can damage it and make it less likely to work properly in an emergency.
- Don't drill into your fire door or cut it in any way.
- Don't paint over the seals on a fire door.
- Don’t replace the handles, hinges or any hardware. Always have repairs carried out by a qualified individual.