Printed from the blog of Lori Greene, AHC/CDC, CCPR, FDAI
Allegion
Email: lori_greene@allegion.com, Blog: www.idighardware.com or www.ihatehardware.com


Jan 26 2010

Survey Q3: “How can you identify a fire door?”

Category: FDAI,Fire DoorsLori @ 11:52 pm Comments (2)
Share

This is the 3rd post in a series about fire doors and the results of a recent (unscientific) survey.

After filtering out the confessed “door experts” (49) and the people who skipped Question #3 (11), there were 647 responses to this question.  Here are the most common answers to the question “How can you tell a fire door from a regular door?”
(Note that I said “most common answers” NOT “correct answers!”)

  • Metal
  • Heavier
  • Thicker
  • Sign – “Fire Door”
  • Painted Red
  • Panic Bar
  • Exit Sign
  • No Glass
  • No Idea
  • No Clue  🙂

In addition to the list above, approximately 10% of the non-door-experts answered that the door would have a label.  That’s RIGHT! A fire door should have a label which would typically be found on the edge of the door between the top and center hinges.  The frame should have a label or marking as well.  Occasionally the labels will be on the top of the door instead of the edge, or covered by a continuous hinge, or painted over, but it’s still the easiest way to tell whether it’s a fire door.

None of the other answers above are correct.  Of course, a fire door MIGHT be made of metal, but they are often made of wood.  They might feel heavier than other doors, most likely due to the door closer, but not every heavy door is a fire door and not every fire door feels heavy.  Fire doors are not thicker than other doors, they could be painted red but they’re usually not, they might have a panic bar (actually, fire exit hardware) but they often don’t, and they absolutely CAN have glass lites (within certain guidelines).  While some fire doors do have signage indicating that they’re fire doors, most don’t, and a lighted exit sign is not an indication of a fire door either.

So what’s my point?  It’s not to show off my fire door knowledge, I swear.  My point is that the vast majority of people in the world have not been educated about fire doors, in fact, they’ve barely given doors a thought.  My friends and family think I’m strange because I look at doors all the time, and when I pull out my camera they pretend they don’t know me.

But even though doors of all types have suffered from a lack of attention so far doesn’t mean that you have to continue to ignore them.  Properly maintained fire doors save lives.  Defective fire doors can result in property loss, injury, and death.

In my next post I will discuss some of the “rules” of fire doors, and what YOU can do to help bring awareness to the deficient fire doors that currently exist in almost every commercial and institutional building.  Meanwhile, look at the hinge edge of the next stairwell door you walk through and find the label.  It will tell you the amount of time the door has been tested to withstand fire, the manufacturer, the listing agency, the latch throw, and a unique number that can be used to find out additional information about the door or frame.

Here are some examples of door and frame labels:

Hollow Metal Door Labels Wood Door Labels Frame Label

<– Read the previous post about the survey results.

Read the next post about the survey results.  –>

2 Responses to “Survey Q3: “How can you identify a fire door?””

  1. Bob Caron says:

    Our industry does such a good job of making a fire door look like any other door that it’s our own fault that non door pros can’t tell the difference. I’m sure the idea was to make safety blend in with everyday life and to function automatically. That’s good in a perfect world, but in the real world where the general public and even building maintenance people don’t know what they have and how to keep it working as designed, it’s going to fail.

  2. Martin B says:

    The comment on signage is interesting. As professionals, I feel we should always call them fire separation doors and give the rated time. In contrast, other doors are fire exit doors for purpose of getting people out. The phrase a ‘fire door’ mixes the two meanings and functions. Of course, some doors can be both.

Leave a Reply

*