If you’ve ever walked through a multiple-building structure such as a hospital, religious center, school, or other interconnected facilities, you’ve probably noticed large doors where various hallways connect. While they may help reduce noise and maybe even cut down on the energy bill, these are fire doors. 

What are fire doors? 

Fire doors are doors with high fire-resistance ratings located between interconnected passageways in a building. In addition to sprinklers, strategically-placed fire extinguishers, and fire alarm systems, fire doors help limit physical harm and property damage by containing fires as well as harmful smoke and gases. 

Why are the fire doors usually open? 

Though fire doors are typically open to allow for the ease of traffic down hallways, most are held open with electromagnetic systems connected to the building’s fire alarm system. When the alarm is triggered, these electromagnetic systems release the doors, allowing them to close. This electromagnetic door release will also allow the doors to close automatically in a power outage event.

What materials are used in the construction of fire doors? 

All fire doors must adhere to particular certification requirements. Depending on the materials used to construct a fire door, it is typically rated to repel fire, smoke, and gases for a prescribed number of minutes—typically 20, 45, 60, or 90 minutes. Some doors are made of wood, though many are made of aluminum, steel, gypsum, or vermiculite. Some may contain sections of pressed glass windows also rated to tolerate specific temperatures for periods. Newer fire doors have safety rating information located on an inside panel.

What sections of the door are rated to withstand fire? 

All sections of a fire door contain varying fire ratings. The door frame, knobs, hinges, windows, weather stripping, and seals are all designed to repel heat, fire, smoke, and gas for specific time periods. 

How frequently do fire doors have to be inspected?

According to ordinances established by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA – 80 5.2.4), fire doors and all of their necessary components must be inspected every year for compliance.

Commercial Construction in Oklahoma

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