Fire doors are critical safety assets in hospitals.
Primarily because fire doors prevent or delay the spread of fire and smoke for a minimum of 30 minutes, thereby giving occupants a vital window of time in which to escape to safety.
And, by the same token, that 30 minutes – or potentially longer – gives the fire brigade the time to make the scene safe and prevent expensive property damage.
In this blog, we focus on hospitals as an example that highlights why fire doors are so important in public service or building settings, such as schools, care homes, surgeries, theatres, universities, cinemas, town halls, places of worship and more.
Fire Doors In Hospitals
Fire Doors are of particular importance in hospitals and other healthcare settings because there may be occupants – such as the infirm and elderly – with limited mobility.
Doors in healthcare environments have to be very durable, serviceable and easy to maintain because traffic flows through them 24 hours a day (seven days a week!), meaning that damage from trolleys, beds, wheelchairs, staff and patients is inevitable.
Cracks and dents in doors – and gaps between doors and frames – will not only reduce their effectiveness in a fire but can also harbour bacteria, thereby impacting vital hygiene standards. Patient safety is, naturally, of the utmost importance, so a damaged or contaminated hospital fire door and its frame will have to be repaired or replaced as soon as possible.
Who Is Responsible For Fire Doors In Public Buildings?
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRFSO) dictates that every public, commercial or multi-occupancy building must have a ‘Responsible Person’, such as the building owner or a facility manager.
The Responsible Person must not only carry out fire risk assessments but also take steps to reduce or remove any risks on an ongoing basis.
The Responsible Person’s duties include regular inspections of fire safety ‘assets’, such as fire doors.
How Often Should Hospital Fire Doors Be Checked?
The Fire Safety Order recommends that door leaves and frames are checked every six months for ‘superficial damage, structural damage and excessive bowing or deformation’ and fixed or replaced accordingly.
You could argue that – depending on the setting and the level of traffic flowing through it (a hospital, for instance) – inspections should be carried out far more regularly as part of a routine that might run as follows:
- A weekly check on fire doors along busy routes because these doors might be opened and closed hundreds of times a day
- A monthly check on main entrance and regular corridor fire doors
- An annual check on office fire doors and those in quieter parts of the hospital (or other) building
What Sort Of Checks Need To Be Performed?
The obvious place to start would be clearly visible damage to the doors’ exterior or even core.
But regular checks should definitely be made on gaps between door leaves and frames and between meeting edges to double doors.
Any alteration in gap size is likely to be caused by damage to hinges or pivots, and are a sign that fasteners are loose or damaged.
The performance of hospital fire doors in an actual fire is dependent upon the condition of the door seals, as they stop deadly smoke from getting through. Smoke inhalation is the most common cause of death and serious injury in fire situations.
There are three types of seal for fire and cold smoke containment:
- Intumescent seals, which help maintain the integrity of the doorset
- Smoke seals, which restrict the flow of cold smoke before intumescent seals become effective
- Combined intumescent and smoke seals.
Seals should be replaced if they are damaged in some way or no longer make enough contact with adjacent components.
It’s also a good idea to replace all the seams when fire doors are replaced. Bear in mind that seals should be replaced as continuous lengths because joints are a source of potential leaks in the event of a fire. Seals must correspond in all ways with the fire door manufacturer’s fire test report.
If you want to learn about common faults that lead to fire door failure, please read this blog.
Choosing The Right Hospital Fire Door Supplier
It almost goes without saying that it is vitally important that you choose a hospital fire door that not only provides fire protection from fire and deadly smoke but which is also durable enough to reduce costly and disruptive repair or replacement.
Another major consideration is ease of cleaning, which will help with infection prevention and control.
Remember that any fire door manufacturer you choose as your supplier and installer must provide proof that their products have passed stringent testing and carry the appropriate certification markings.
A hospital fire door from Vigor Doors will deliver high performance and be a cost-effective choice because they are manufactured to such a standard that they will require little in the way of repairs, offer great longevity and are designed to withstand regular intensive cleaning.
Choosing Vigor Doors as your hospital fire door supplier will be a smart move because we:
- Craft high-quality doors
- Offer a bespoke design service
- Deliver and expertly install doors right across the UK
- Pride ourselves on exemplary customer service that includes showing you how to properly maintain your doors
Fire Doors For All Types Of Settings
Vigor Doors supplies fire doors and acoustic doors for a broad range of sectors, including:
So, if you’re the person responsible for fire safety at a hotel, B&B, school, care home, surgery, theatre, university, cinema, town hall or place of worship, please contact us using the details above.