Printed from the blog of Lori Greene, AHC/CDC, CCPR, FDAI
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Dec 20 2016

Holiday Door Decorating

Category: Accessibility,Egress,Fire DoorsLori @ 1:54 pm Comments (12)

It’s that time of year once again, where schools, offices, and apartment buildings use the blank palettes provided by their doors, to hold holiday door decorating contests.  Now, before you call me Scroogette, I do love doors and holiday decorating, and I can understand the appeal.  BUT, there are a few rules to keep in mind:

  1. Decorating the egress side of the door is NOT recommended, because the door could become concealed by the holiday decorations.  Stick to the access side (the outside).
  2. Don’t cover the exit signs!  If you follow Rule 1, Rule 2 isn’t usually a problem, but as you can see in one of the tweets below, decorations that extend onto the wall can sometimes affect adjacent exit signs.
  3. The hardware must remain operable – I’ve seen panic hardware disguised as a fireplace mantle, a windowsill, or just covered completely.  Decorations on the access side are less problematic, but can still interfere with the operation of the hardware.
  4. If you’re going to attach 3-dimensional decorations to the push side of a manually-operated door, watch out for the projections into the clear opening width, and the 10-inch area at the bottom of the door where there should be nothing protruding from the face of the door.  Protrusions into the corridor width can also be an issue.
  5. If your door is a fire door, you really shouldn’t be attaching anything to it.  There are also limitations on how much paper/flammable material is allowed in a corridor (I’m talking to you – schools!).  Most multi-family buildings won’t allow anything attached to the outside of the unit entry doors from the corridors.

Here are some recent tweets showing holiday doors (and this PDF has LOTS).  What do you think?

Images:  Heather Papp, Alexander Stirling, Felicia Hiscock, Archbishop Curley HS, K Hopkins, S Bachra, M Desmond, Kelly Roman, Rachel Howe, Shane Perdew, Steele Street PS, William Stento, Mrs. D, and Mrs. Penlington via Twitter.

12 Responses to “Holiday Door Decorating”

  1. David Sherpitis says:

    We see this several times a year. Many Elementary schools have an annual door decorating contest. In addition they decorate doors for different holidays and occasions. Decorations are on the exterior of the doors so egress is still obvious from inside the rooms. We have a continual problem with them covering the door light. We ask that they leave an opening at the door light so you can see who you are opening the door to and also to be certain that no one is standing in the path of the door swing when you open the door.

  2. Joel Niemi says:

    and I’m sure all of that paper on the corridor walls is flame-retardant

    (pet peeve of a friend in The Fire Service)

  3. David DeFilippo says:

    Don’t let the Fire Safety Inspector see that stuff !

  4. Chuck Noble, CFPE, CFI-1 says:

    Hello Lori.
    Happy Holidays!

    The NFPA-101, 2012 Artwork and teaching materials shall be permitted to be attached directly to walls in accordance with the following: (1) The artwork and teaching materials shall not exceed 20 percent of the wall area in a building that is not protected throughout by an automatic sprinkler system in accordance with Section 9.7 (2) The artwork and teaching materials shall not exceed 50 percent of the wall area in a building that is protected throughout by an automatic sprinkler system in accordance with Section 9.7

  5. Ed Dueppen says:

    This is the stuff fire marshal nightmares are made of!

  6. Bryan McKeehan says:

    I can’t look.
    I’m very afraid!
    And I’d probably blow a gasket.

  7. Karl Pfeffer says:

    Impressive!! Good to see that children are still creative. You make good comments about the doors-bah humbug. You are correct, for safety sake you should follow the guidelines that you noted. In the school that I went to (many, many years ago) they had a rule that you could not decorate the door, but could decorate the wall next to the door. The only saving grace that I see from the photos you posted is that these are schools and that the occupants are familiar with where the doors are in their rooms. Maybe I could get some of these kids to come and decorate my house.

  8. Chuck Park says:

    The Mantel shelf on the Shane Perdew door looks like it might limit the opening of the door to less than forty-five degrees!

  9. Kathy Agugliaro says:

    I loved looking at these pictures that my husband (who is in the door and hardware business) forwarded to me. I have always wanted to decorate my Special Education classroom for the holidays like this. However we were given these rules in regards to decorations/ teaching materials from the Fire Department:

    Nothing on the door, nothing on the walls within two feet of the door, no lights, no real tree (artificial are allowed without lights), nothing on the glass in the door, decorations in the hall cannot cover more than 50% of the wall space, nothing hanging from the ceilings.

    It didn’t leave much room for decorating, but we managed a very nice bulletin board with the student’s stockings hanging from the bottom (If the fire department had seen that I probably would have gotten in trouble!)

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