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What is a Fire Door?

Date: 25/01/2023 | Format: Article | Read: 10 mins

What are Fire Doors?

Fire Doors provide access from one space to another whilst protecting inhabitants and the building from the spreading of heat, smoke and fire.

Fire Doors aren’t restricted greatly in terms of style and finish, however  they are very strictly regulated in terms of manufacturing, installation and maintenance of the doorset as a whole.

Post Grenfell, 3rd party certified Fire Door companies are favoured to ensure standards are kept throughout the Lifecyle of the doorset.  This ensures a true paper trail of information often referred to as the “Golden Thread”.


This Article Covers

  1. What is the purpose of a Fire Door?
  2. What fire rating should my Fire Door be?
  3. What is the difference between Fire Door and a ‘Fire Exit Door’?
  4. Additional resources on Fire Doors

What is the purpose of a Fire Door?

Being part of the Passive Fire Protection System, they provide a vital part of the fire safety of the building.

By staying closed and sealed, they potentially throttle airflow to active fires whilst slowing the spread of heat, smoke and fire throughout the building.

Without them, heat, smoke and fire will spread rapidly, resulting in the unimaginable. These Fire Door safety measures are especially important in high usage buildings, something POYNTELL is very familiar in dealing with.

Fully functioning Fire Doors compartment the building. This allows for the safe passage of people and goods in the times of an incident. They are also critical for areas which require occasional access and protection, such as service hatches and entrance points to vulnerable systems.

Fire compartmentation diagram

What fire rating should my Fire Door be?

What rating should my fire door be?

Whilst there are a number of variants, we will be focusing on Fire Doors within a commercial building environment e.g. high rise buildings, schools, hospitals, government buildings and other high traffic / high population environments.

Whilst we would love every Fire Door to be FD240s (4-hour protection with smoke seals), realistically the belt and braces approach is not feasible financially, and might be overkill in some situations e.g. low traffic areas, with low fire risk associated.

It is therefore up to the FRA (Fire Risk Assessment) to decide what fire rating a door should be. From that information, specifying every aspect of that door, should be to those specifications, and those specifications only!

Door specialists such as POYNTELL may recommend additional hardware, to increase the longevity of the door (kick plates / ironmongery / automation), however the core function of the door (the fire rating), should be a minimum of the FRA recommendations.

What is the difference between Fire Door and a ‘Fire Exit Door’?

Emergency exit door

The term ‘Fire Exit’ is often incorrectly used in place of the correct name, ‘Emergency Exit’.

Fire Doors are usually internal doors and emergency exits are normally the last exit point of the escape route.

The primary function of the Fire Door is to reduce the spread of heat, smoke and fire from one environment to the other. Therefore, the standards associated to this function correlate with this functionality.

The primary function of the Emergency Exit is to provide clear and reliable exit of occupants in the case of an emergency. This could be due to a fire emergency, or frankly anything which requires quick and easy access of many people.

Whilst two doors are associated with the fire system as a whole, both types of door require very different hardware, and have different standards associated to them. Once again, it’s wise to consult your Fire Risk Assessment (FRA) as to what each door should be classed as.

More information on Fire Doors

To find out about the correct and incorrect protocol when installing / maintaining Fire Doors see our main Fire Doors - What are they? page. Or you may want to look through more POYNTELL blog articles.

Follow these links for information on Fire Door Installation, Fire Door Maintenance, Fire Door Inspection and Fire Door Certification Information.

You may also want to watch some of our videos on Youtube, or follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.

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