New Years Resolutions: Keeping Fire Doors Compliant

What are your New Year’s resolutions for 2014? With the freshness of the New Year at our fingertips there is a lot to look forward to. Our 2014 Calendars are already hung high and upcoming events and projects are being added each day, but right now we’re focusing on fire doors. Fire doors are an extremely important part of your buildings passive fire protection system. Getting down to the basics, fire doors provide life safety by stopping the spread of smoke and allowing people to exit quickly in the face of an emergency. Why not make fire door compliance one of your New Year resolutions?

2014 Fire Door Compliance

There are many reasons why fire door code compliance can’t be avoided, the most obvious of which is code enforcement. Fire Marshals and other AHJ’s (Authorities Having Jurisdiction) will check to make sure your facility’s fire doors have been inspected annually and meet their standards. If you have not completed your facility’s annual fire door inspections with the proper documentation, the consequences can lead to citations that range in severity depending on the violation. With recent changes in legislation and adoption of updated codes, you can expect to see an increase in fire door enforcement in 2014.

The most important reason for fire door compliance is safety. Fire doors should not only be inspected annually, but should be continually code compliant in case of an emergency. If a fire breaks out and your exit doors don’t swing the right way or have even the slightest gap, these seemingly “small” violations could lead to serious consequences. Slight modifications and even daily “wear and tear” of doors can increase the spread of fire and smoke throughout a building, hindering the safe egress of occupants.

A recent example of this is the Midtown high-rise fire that took place this Monday, January 7, 2014 in New York. When an occupant in the high-rise came home to smoke in his apartment, he fled, leaving his door, a fire door, wide open. The door did not self-close as code requires, fueling the fire with oxygen and allowing smoke to spread through the building. Excessive smoke led to the death of one resident and the hospitalization of at least one other. If the door had self closed as it was supposed to, it’s possible no lives would have been lost. To find out more about this tragic and preventable incident, click here.

Fire door assemblies have several components (such as the hardware, door, frame, and glazing) with code requirements for each, so it can become difficult to know exactly what is required of you. As a starting point, our last several blog articles go into detail about current NFPA requirements and the necessary steps to take when it comes to fire door compliance. As always, you can contact us for more information on getting your facility’s doors in compliance.

Fire door compliance is an extremely important aspect of your fire safety assembly that cannot be overlooked. Your fire doors are an instrumental part in keeping potential fires contained and keeping your occupants and visitors safe. In 2014 make it a resolution to set up a maintenance plan ensuring your fire doors are inspected annually and remain code compliant. Mark your calendars with your fire door inspections now to make 2014 worry free.

Happy New Year Everyone!

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