Fire and smoke can cause injury and death, with smoke being the greater threat to life. Smoke is toxic, it asphyxiates, causes loss of visibility and contains flammable gases. It can also cause serious damage to the contents and building fabric some distance from the seat of the fire.
The risks can be reduced by properly checking and maintaining fire doors, which are provided to:
- maximise the time available to use escape routes safely
- contain fire and smoke within the room where the fire started or within fire resisting compartments
Most fire and smoke resisting doorsets (door and frame) are fitted with a self-closing device, which ensures that the door is closed at all times. These doors should not be wedged or propped in the open position, so they are in place when needed.
Where it's necessary to hold fire resisting doors open for operational reasons, an approved hold-open, or swing-free device, which responds to the fire alarm system by releasing or activating the door closer, may be provided. Fire doors that are fitted to store rooms, risers and plant rooms are kept locked and provided with a sign stating 'Fire door keep locked'.
A guidance document is provided for departmental staff responsible for checking fire doors and Estates staff responsible for maintaining, repairing and replacing fire doors.