I’m so happy to see this message spreading across the country (see video below), with multiple fire departments sharing videos and advising people to “Close Before You Doze.” Closing your bedroom door at night can buy you time to react and escape during a fire, and can help slow the spread of fire.
Someone recently asked me…if residential bedroom doors do such a great job of keeping the fire out, why bother with fire doors? What’s the difference? A few things…
- Residential doors will deter fire for a few minutes, but fire door assemblies are designed and tested to deter the spread of smoke and flames for up to 3 hours.
- Why is more time needed? Part of a fire door assembly’s job is to protect the means of egress – the corridors and stairwells, so the occupants of a building have a safe escape route. It may only take a few minutes to escape from your home, but imagine evacuating a high-rise building.
- In addition to the construction of the door itself, fire door assemblies are required to have door closers, latching hardware, and often smokeseal, all of which are certified to perform as designed during a fire. In a home, it may be sufficient to rely on mom or dad to close and latch each bedroom door (or install a product like LifeDoor), but in other types of buildings the fire door needs to reliably close and latch without human intervention.
- In order to keep fire door assemblies compliant with the codes and standards, they must be inspected by a qualified person after installation, after maintenance work, as well as annually. This ensures that any damage or non-compliant modifications are addressed without delay.