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Jan 25 2010

Survey Q2: “What is the purpose of a fire door?”

Category: FDAI,Fire Doors,VideosLori @ 6:59 pm Comments (3)

This is the 2nd post in a series about fire doors and the results of a recent survey.


“Fire protection-rated doors provide critical protection to protect exit enclosures and compartmentalize buildings and stop the spread of fire, smoke, and toxic gases. The proper installation and maintenance of these doors is a critical part of the buildings fire protection system.”

~ Chip Carson, NFPA Journal – 02/08

There have been 682 survey responses to this question to date, and the overwhelming majority of respondents knew that the purpose of a fire door is to hinder the spread of smoke and fire and to allow building occupants time to exit safely.  Without properly installed and maintained fire door assemblies (including the the door, frame, hardware, glazing, and seals), the smoke and flames could spread throughout a building unchecked.  The means of egress would be compromised in a very short period of time.

The security camera video below is from a recent fire at the OJ DeJonge Junior High School in Ludington, Michigan.  Fortunately, it was a minor fire which occurred after most of the children had gone home and there were no injuries, but it’s a great illustration of the purpose of fire doors.

The fire was in a laundry room, and the video clearly illustrates how the closed laundry room door contained the smoke until the custodian opened it.  About 30 seconds into the video, the cross-corridor doors close and compartmentalize the area, protecting the rest of the school and its occupants.  The cross-corridor doors were held open with electronic hold-open devices, which release upon fire alarm and allow the doors to close.  If the doors were held open with wood wedges (as MANY cross-corridor fire doors are), they would not have been able to close and provide protection against the spread of smoke and flames.

Here’s another video of a fire alarm system test where the doors close about 15 seconds into the video and separate the lobby from the rest of the school.

<– Read the previous post about the survey results.

Read the next post about the survey results.  –>

3 Responses to “Survey Q2: “What is the purpose of a fire door?””

  1. Debbie White says:

    Lori I am just wondering in the first video where it shows the pair of doors that close when the smoke starts forming in the building, the man that gets let into the corridor, what would have happened had that man not been let in? Was there another way out, on the other side where he was, before the cleaning lady let him in? Good video thanks for posting.

    • Lori says:

      Hi Debbie –

      I don’t know that the doors were locked on the pull side – my impression was that the cleaning lady went to see why the doors closed and the man joined her and approached the laundry room door. There would have been available exits for him in the other section of the building…he actually moved toward the fire in the direction opposite to the means of egress in order to get the fire extinguisher and attempt to put out the fire.

      I added a link to the news article about the fire in case you want to read more.

      – Lori

  2. hermiliesmith says:

    Thanks for the informative blog. The blog makes me aware of the importance of fire door installation for the safety of the houses.

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