A safe passage when danger strikes. That is probably the first thought that comes to mind when you mention fire doors to anyone. But is this all there is to know about fire doors and exits? What should a safety-conscious building owner or manager know about this common but essential fire safety equipment?

We know from large-scale and severe fire incidents that getting people away from the danger is just as vital as stopping the blaze. Fire doors and fire exits are among the most effective means of achieving both fire suppression and preventing people from getting trapped inside a dangerous location. So, it’s essential to understand these equipment and how you can ensure they are up to standard and well-maintained.

Here are three questions to ask about your fire doors and exits:

Are fire exits and fire doors the same?

Some people may confuse fire doors for fire exits. While these two terms sound like they could be the same thing, there are quite significant factors that differentiate the two. The function of fire exits is to allow people inside the building to exit safely during a fire. Therefore, these doors must remain open when there is a fire.

In contrast, fire doors, whose primary function is to contain the spread of fire, must remain closed at all times except when using to exit the building in an emergency.

Key points to note:

Fire doors:

  • The primary function is to prevent the spread of fire and smoke to other areas.
  • Must be made from fire-resistant material and be fire-rated.

Fire exits:

  • The primary function is as an emergency exit for the building.
  • It does not necessarily need to be fire-rated.

How can I make sure my fire doors are effective?

You must not leave your fire doors or exits in a state where they are incapable of performing their primary function. So, make sure that fire doors and exits are not obstructed in any way.

When it comes to fire exits, ease of use is essential. In an emergency, injured people or those with disabilities may need to exit through these doors quickly. That’s why your fire exits should be easily opened using just one hand. Another point to consider about fire exits is that key locking on the exit side is not permitted.

For fire doors, the most crucial factor to consider is that the doors are shut and sealed as quickly as possible after someone uses them. The lock for these doors must be self-latching and be fire-rated per Australian Standards.

What regulations relating to fire doors and exits should I be aware of?

It is advisable for building owners and managers to get familiar with offences and regulations that relate to fire doors and exits. However, a reliable and knowledgeable fire safety provider should help ensure that your fire doors and exits are in top condition and compliant with relevant regulations.

According to the Australian Standards AS1815-2012, and based on most local council legislation, fire doors must be inspected and tested every six months (for common property fire doors) and annually (for both common property fire doors and individual unit fire doors).

If you are unsure about the details of when your fire doors and exits should be inspected, speak to your fire safety provider.

So keep an eye on these important facts about fire doors and exits. You’ll not only be assured that people in your building can escape safely, but you’ll also strengthen your building’s defence should a fire break out.

Need help with the installation or service of your fire doors and exits? Contact Global Fire. We offer reliable service whether you need doors installed, repaired or simply checked that they are up to standard. Our expert team will ensure a smooth and worry-free process. For a wide range of fire protection solutions, call us now on 1300 88 70 18 or email inquiries@globalfire.com.au.