Getting a handle on fire door safety: Busting the common myths

Posted: 25.09.2019

To coincide with the start of Fire Door Safety Week, Drax 360 are sharing our 20+ years of fire safety expertise and advice to help building owners, managers and tenants get a handle on fire door safety.

A vital part of your safety system

A fire door is one of the most critical elements of any building’s fire safety strategy. They help to prevent the spread of both fire and smoke, containing them and allowing more time for occupants to escape and for the fire services to rescue those in danger.

However, there are a lot of misconceptions out there about fire doors which, unfortunately, can put lives in danger and – if you are the responsible person – breach your duty of care. The latter could also lead to a hefty fine or even prosecution.

Common fire door misconceptions

When it comes to managing fire doors, there are a number of myths to be aware of and to take action against. Here are five of the most common myths:

Myth #1: “Any standard door can be made into a fire door.”

A fire door requires all items to meet the specifications stated on the fire door certificate. Adding larger doorstops to standard doors or painting with fire retardant paint, for example, will not meet these regulations.

Myth #2: “I can fit a fire door myself.”

Fire doors need to be fitted correctly. It’s vital that people who are competent and skilled fit fire doors. However, no official qualifications or accreditations are needed by those installing doors. It is, however, strongly advised against unless you have the right skillset and experience.

Myth #3: “Having a gap between a fire door and its frame doesn’t matter.”

The dimensions of the gap around a fire door is vital; it prevents toxic fumes and smoke in the event of a fire. Commonly, the gap should be 3mm, but always check the fitting instructions. If you’re unsure, contact us for a free Fire Door Gauge, which can help you determine if your doors meet the minimum standards.

Myth #4: “Fire doors still work if left open.”

Fire doors resist smoke and flames for a period of time to slow down fire. Leaving them open renders them as useless as a standard door. Ensuring they stay shut as often as possible is important. This can be tricky if you have a large number of doors in your care. However, there are systems used by Drax 360 that can remotely help you review their status.

Myth #5: “It’s the tenant’s responsibility to be clued up on fire doors.”

If you’re a building owner or landlord it is likely to be your responsibility to ensure the safety of all occupants in your building. If you don’t have the knowledge or skills, you must appoint a “competent person” to carry this out for you. Drax UK’s team of experts can help you better understand your responsibilities – contact us today to find out more.

The importance of fire door management

To ensure fire doors are working at their optimum level, a system of management and upkeep is strongly recommended. Here are our top three tips to get you started:

1. Find out who is responsible for the doors in your organisation/building and find out what their fire door plan is. If you are responsible, make sure you develop a plan or speak to someone who can help you create one

2. Every fire door in a building is required to be regularly tested by law, to ensure they are correctly specified and installed. Regularly update your plan and ensure you set frequent reminders for when each door needs to be checked

3. Fire doors across multiple sites can be difficult to keep track of. If you have the unenviable task of managing them, there are a host of remotely accessible and innovative solutions to help you take back control of the safety systems in your care


If you are looking for additional support with the safety systems and assets in your care, Drax 360’s hassle-free solutions can help you and your team assess, monitor and maintain the fire doors and other safety assets in your buildings and across multiple sites. Contact us today on 0345 459 2300.

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