Printed from the blog of Lori Greene, AHC/CDC, CCPR, FDAI
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Door Gap Gauge

The instructors in my Fire Door Assembly Inspector (FDAI) class showed us a really handy gauge to measure clearances around fire rated doors, and since I’m going to do my first *official* inspection tomorrow I tracked one down.  It can easily and accurately measure 1/16″, 1/8″, 3/16″, 1/4″, and 3/8″ gaps, and a 3/4″ undercut.  For […]

NFPA 80 – 2007

In the last 2 days, a certified fire door inspector and a hardware supplier have both asked me where it is stated that Maine and Massachusetts have adopted the 2007 edition of NFPA 80, which includes the requirement for the annual inspection of fire doors. In Maine, it’s pretty easy: Office of State Fire Marshal, State of […]


I recently conducted a fire door assembly inspection and I noted that many of the existing frames had old holes that had been patched with Bondo filler putty.  NFPA 80 requires that holes left by the removal of hardware must be filled with steel fasteners or with the same material as the door or frame.  […]

Hinge Fillers

What you’re looking at is an existing fire rated frame with a new door that I saw recently during a fire door inspection.  Most of the other doors that I inspected that day had steel hinge fillers to fill the existing hinge preps before the continuous hinges were installed.  So why were a half-dozen or […]

Fire Door Assembly Inspection FAQs

Since Maine and Massachusetts have adopted the 2007 edition of NFPA 80 which requires the annual inspection of fire doors, we have received enough questions about it that I put together a list of frequently asked questions.  Here they are: The 2007 Edition of NFPA 80 – Standard for Fire Doors and Other Opening Protectives […]

Temperature Rise Doors

My only hesitation in posting these photos is that they are probably the best photos of Doors Gone Wrong that I have ever seen, and any future photos will pale in comparison.  These are the holy grail of bad door photos, which I received from Eyal Bedrik of Entry Systems Ltd. in Israel.  According to […]

NFPA Journal Door Inspection Article

There’s an article in the May/June 2009 issue of the NFPA Journal about the inspection of egress doors and fire doors.  You can access the article here.  It’s an excellent overview of the inspection requirements found in the 2009 Edition of NFPA 101 – The Life Safety Code.  According to NFPA 101 – 2009, the […]

FDAI in Specifications

UPDATE:  I wanted to preserve this original post but the recommended specification section on fire and egress door assembly inspections has been updated and is available HERE. As states continue to adopt building and fire safety codes which reference the 2007 or 2010 editions of NFPA 80, the requirement for annual fire door assembly inspections […]

History Repeats Itself, Again

Once again, failure to follow fire safety and egress code requirements in a nightclub has resulted in a fire with multiple fatalities.  The death toll from the December 4th fire at the Lame Horse in Perm, Russia currently stands at 112 with more than 100 people severely injured. According to news reports, plastic sheeting decorated […]

NFPA 80 – 2010

I recently received my copy of the 2010 edition of NFPA 80 – Standard for Fire Doors & Other Opening Protectives, and I spent some time today perusing the changes (indicated by a vertical line to the left of the revised text). Many of the changes are related to glazing, and there are some updates […]

Interesting Place for an ASA Strike

I have heard from some code officials that annual fire door assembly inspections aren’t feasible because there are too many fire doors, or aren’t necessary because the building inspectors and fire marshals already have it covered.  The application below caught my eye on the way into my hotel the other other night.  It’s the fire […]

Fire Door Survey

In 2007, the annual inspection of fire door assemblies became a code requirement that is gradually being adopted across the U.S. Given the enormous quantity of fire doors and the relatively small number of qualified fire door inspectors, implementation of this change has been challenging, but because of the appalling condition of the fire doors […]

Survey SAYS…

A couple of weeks ago I posted a survey to find out what people know about fire doors.  The purpose was to test my theory that the reason fire doors are improperly modified and damaged hardware is left unrepaired is because people don’t realize a) which doors are fire doors or b) what can or […]

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

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 […]

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

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 […]

Survey Q4: “What are some ‘rules’ regarding fire doors?”

This is the 4th post in a series about fire doors and the results of a recent (unscientific) survey. The survey results included some pretty good answers as to what the rules for fire doors might be.  Quite a few people knew that fire doors should be kept closed, but there’s an important clarification I […]

Survey Q4: “What are some ‘rules’ regarding fire doors?”

Back to business after a brief vacation in Costa Rica… This is the 5th post in a series about fire doors and the results of a recent (unscientific) survey. Rule #2 – A fire door must be SELF-LATCHING. This means that when a fire door closes, it latches, typically with either a lockset/latchset or fire […]

Survey Q4: “What are some ‘rules’ regarding fire doors?”

This is the 6th post in a series about fire doors and the results of a recent (unscientific) survey. For anyone who is just tuning in or has lost track of this series of posts, I conducted a survey about what the general public knows about fire doors and I learned 2 things – 1) […]

Survey Q5 – “Which doors are fire doors?”

This is the 7th post in a series about fire doors and the results of a recent (unscientific) survey. The real answer to this question is “it depends.”  Stair doors are almost always fire doors, main entrance doors – almost never.  Offices, bathrooms – rarely.  Storage, corridors – sometimes.  You get the picture.  As a […]

Survey Q6-7-8 – Repairs are Expensive but Necessary

This is the 8th post in a series about fire doors and the results of a recent (unscientific) survey. I have kids in elementary school and preschool, and I know about the financial crisis most of our schools are facing.  The school system in our town is trying to overcome a $10.3 million budget gap […]

Parkside West Fire

Last Tuesday night, approximately fifty people were left homeless by a fire at the Parkside West Apartments in New London, Connecticut, which apparently began on a stove in a 3rd-story apartment.  One of the newspaper accounts of the fire investigation reported that the fire marshal stated “in the third-floor apartment where the fire is believed […]

Stephens Court, Calcutta India

This building in Calcutta was involved in a fatal fire today, with 24 deaths reported so far and additional people still missing.  The top floors of the building had been added illegally, but the building owner paid a fine and all was forgiven.  The fire department reportedly had never inspected the building. Each section had […]

Triangle Factory Fire – 99 Years Ago Today

The fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York City on March 25th, 1911, claimed 146 lives – mostly young immigrant women.  Building owners locked the exit doors to keep the workers in and the union organizers out, so when a fire broke out on the 8th floor it was impossible for some of […]

Boston Back Bay Fire

There was a 9-alarm fire last week in Boston, in a 10-story condominium building.  Several residents had to be rescued by firefighters, because they didn’t evacuate the building immediately when the alarm sounded.  One resident, who waited 10-15 minutes (by her estimate) to leave, found a stairwell full of smoke and a locked door to […]

Rosepark Care Home

A while back, I wrote a post about the requirement for fire doors to be self-closing, and I referenced a fire at the Rosepark Care Home in Uddington, Scotland.  The fire occurred in 2004, but the results of the investigation are being reported now.  I’ve been collecting news articles related to fire and egress doors […]

Glass (and Glasses)

Someone asked me a question recently that I had to stop and think about. In the old days, wire glass could only be used in fire doors. It could not be used in non-rated doors. The question was, “Can the wire glass that meets the impact resistance requirements be used in non-rated doors?” The answer […]

Don’t Get Burned

On Thursday, May 13th, the New England Chapter of the Door & Hardware Institute will be holding our meeting at a new location – Vinny T’s in Dedham, Massachusetts.  The meeting topic is fire door assembly inspection (FDAI), and many of the local fire door inspectors will be participating in the presentations.  The format is […]

FDAI Speed Dating

Tonight I attended the local DHI chapter meeting, where I was one of the presenters in a “cracker barrel” style presentation on fire door assembly inspection.  It was kind of like FDAI speed dating.  We had 6 tables, each with a different topic and 1 or 2 presenters per table, and the attendees cycled through […]

FDAI Specification – Revised

A while back, I posted some recommended specification language regarding the annual inspection of fire and egress door assemblies, and I have since revised it based on everyone’s comments.  The original language and comments are still here, and the updated language is below.  This should be inserted into the hardware specification for projects designed to […]

Reader Photos

Maybe I should have a new series called “Jeff Tock’s Photos.”  🙂  Jeff is one of the Ingersoll Rand trainers who travels the world teaching people about hardware, and he sees a lot of “special applications.”  Jeff sent me this group of photos recently (thanks Jeff!): This bank of doors is in a large convention […]

What would you do?

I received the comment below on my post about the childrens’ museum doors with applied panels painted to look like stone.  It’s a good question, so I’m turning it into a post of its own. “Lori – What do you do when you find these doors?  Do you ever notify management/maintenance that these are a […]

FDAI Resources

You may have already noticed that I added a new tab at the top of the page that says “FDAI.”  On this page I’ve collected some resources on Fire Door Assembly Inspection (FDAI).  If you have comments about any of the documents or links there, or if you have ideas for other resources that should […]

2009 IBC / 8th Edition Mass Code

If you missed the New England Chapter DHI meeting last week…a Q&A presentation on codes, the question/answer document and the handout are now available on the chapter website.  You can download them here:  Q&A Document / Handout You also missed out on some great examples of why fire doors and egress doors should be inspected annually!    […]


I spent most of today traveling to Connecticut to do a Code Jeopardy presentation for 31 building inspectors there.  I’m pretty sure they thought I was crazy when I said that we were going to play a game, but they enjoyed it and learned something, and I was able to keep them awake even though […]

A little help, please?

For several months I’ve been working on a short presentation for code officials about Fire & Egress door Assembly Inspection.  I really HAVE been working on it, just not continuously.  In my defense, it’s really easy to get sidetracked when you get 100 emails per day.  But there’s one sure-fire way to get me focused, […]

Faulty Fire Doors in the News

I’ve been doing some research for my FDAI presentation, looking for specific examples of how the inspection of fire doors and correction of deficiencies can have a direct impact on life safety as well as the protection of property.  It’s not very often that you see fire doors in the news, but these two recent […]

$63,000 Fine

Sometimes I feel like a broken record.  Like maybe people are sick of hearing me talk about fire and egress doors, how they protect us, and what happens when they are disabled or neglected.  When I meet someone, I don’t immediately launch into a discussion about doors because I’m pretty sure they’ll think I’m a […]

The Rest of the Story…

The other day I posted some photos of a fire door that had done its job and prevented a fire from spreading.  Several of you emailed me about the photos, because they’re SUCH a great illustration of what a fire door is for.  It’s easy to imagine what would have happened if it was propped […]

WW: Close the Door

Thank you to Juan Guerra for permission to post this photo. You need to login or register to bookmark/favorite this content.

More Doors After Fires

Judging from the photos, these doors may not have been code-compliant, but they were still able to hinder the spread of smoke and fire, at least to some extent.  That does not mean that any old non-compliant door will be fine so we might as well stop worrying about them…one of the biggest issues with […]

No Wedging Allowed

The suit was in regard to the breach of security caused by wedging open the fire door, but I thought this was kind of interesting: From the Southwark News… ‘SHUT THAT DOOR!’ 26 January 2011 A Borough resident will have to learn to ‘shut that door’, otherwise she will be breaching a bail condition imposed […]

WW: More Doors After a Fire

    Photos posted with permission from Newcastle University. You need to login or register to bookmark/favorite this content.

Voodoo Ritual (& Open Fire Door) Results in Fatality

It’s tough enough to get anyone to pay attention to fire doors, but when a fire is a result of a “voodoo sex ceremony,” there’s little to no chance that anyone will take note of the role played by the propped-open fire door.  In a 5-alarm fire in Brooklyn on February 20th, the door to […]

Signage on Fire Doors

Just when I was wondering what I should post about tonight, I received this photo from Brendan Daley of SURV. From an informational aspect, it’s a great sign…it tells the building occupants that it’s a fire door and how the door should be treated.  Unfortunately, signs can’t be installed on fire doors using screws! Here […]

WW: Another Door Involved in a Fire

Photo courtesy of Newcastle University. You need to login or register to bookmark/favorite this content.

“When will fire door inspections be required in my jurisdiction?”

In response to my request for a list of FAQs, my colleague and pal Kurt Roeper sent this suggestion.  It’s definitely a frequently asked question, but the tricky part is coming up with the answer.  I’m a big fan of the old adage, “How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.”  That’s […]

FDAI – California

The 2010 California Fire Code requires fire doors to be maintained in accordance with NFPA 80 and smoke doors to be maintained in accordance with NFPA 105.  The code references the 2007 editions of NFPA 80 and NFPA 105 (Chapter 47 – Referenced Standards).  The 2007 editions of these standards require the door assemblies to […]

FDAI – New York State

The 2010 Fire Code of New York State requires fire doors to be maintained in accordance with NFPA 80, and references the 2007 edition of that standard (Chapter 45 – Referenced Standards).  The 2007 edition of NFPA 80 requires fire door assemblies to be inspected annually as part of the maintenance requirements, so by referencing […]

Woodstock, Ontario Apartment Fire

When I lived in a condominium complex in the mid-90’s, I don’t think I gave much thought to fire safety.  I remember hearing the fire alarm in the middle of the night and going out to my balcony to see if I could smell smoke.  If not, it must be a false alarm.  That seems […]

ICC Staff Opinion on FDAI

I know there have been a lot of posts this week and hopefully my subscribers aren’t getting sick of the email notifications, but I’ve got a couple of really important things to post so bear with me.  I can take next week off if you’re sick of me.  🙂 There has been a lot of […]

WW: Hollow Metal Doors (Literally)

I saw both of these doors today, in two different facilities.  Yes, they are both fire rated.  One is a cross-corridor pair and one is a stair door. You need to login or register to bookmark/favorite this content.

Yet Another Apartment Fire

How many more fires is it going to take before people understand that closed and latched doors save lives, code-compliant fire doors are self-closing and self-latching, and annual fire door inspections will make sure they stay that way? It’s simple, really. But the message is not getting through, and people continue to die – this […]

Staples Center Follow-Up

I’ve obviously been slacking because this video was posted a month ago.  It’s a follow-up to a report about the flawed fire safety system at the Staples Center, including problems with their fire doors.  Here’s a link, in case you missed it too. Kudos to Robert Flores of Fire Door Consulting and Inspection Services for […]

New York Minute

Holy cow…I am bone-weary.  I feel like I ran on adrenaline the whole time I was in NYC, and the 5-hour ride home in the rain and snow was the icing on the cake. The days at the DHI Conference flew by, but what a great time!  I caught up with a lot of my […]

FDAI – Florida

The 2010 Florida Fire Prevention Code, effective December 31, 2011, requires fire doors to be maintained in accordance with NFPA 80 and references the 2007 edition of that standard in Chapter 2 – Referenced Publications.  The 2007 edition of NFPA 80 requires fire door assemblies to be inspected annually as part of the maintenance requirements, […]

WW: Adhesive (Tape) Label

Sent in by an anonymous fire marshal who is getting quite the education in fire door assemblies.  🙂 You need to login or register to bookmark/favorite this content.

Follow-Up: 20 Minute Fire Doors

Last week I posted some photos of a pair of 20-minute doors with some “issues,” and I want to thank everyone who left comments with their thoughts on the situation.  Often, people tell me that they know something is required but aren’t sure where to find it written, so I thought it would be good […]

WWYD: Hotel Electric Room

UPDATE:  This application was discussed at length on the Building Codes Forum, so go check it out to see what the AHJs had to say.  The final decision was that the door should have been a 20-minute door, even if the contents of the electric room did not require a higher rating.  As a 20-minute […]

Effects of Fire Doors on an Apartment Fire

On January 19th, 2011, Firefighter Mark Falkenhan was killed in the line of duty while fighting an apartment fire at 30 Dowling Circle in the Hillendale section of Baltimore County, Maryland.  The fire was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the video below details the events leading to this […]

Filling Holes in Fire Doors

Whenever I teach a class on fire door inspection, questions always come up about holes in fire doors and how to fill them.  I promised a class of 120 last fall at the Yankee Security Conference that I would write a blog post about it, but there was really no good solution, particularly for wood […]

WW: Hotel Doors

How is it possible that hotels almost always have fire and egress door issues?  It seems like they would get it right once, then duplicate those good applications across the chain and make sure that they’re maintained.  Yet hotels have been a great source of Doors Gone Wrong. Here are some hotel doors from Zeke […]

Fire Door Inspection – Top 10 Deficiencies

This article was originally published in the Summer 2012 issue of Life Safety Digest, a publication of the Firestop Contractors International Association (FCIA).  The article has been revised slightly to reference more recent codes. As more jurisdictions adopt editions of the International Fire Code (IFC), NFPA 101 – The Life Safety Code, or other codes […]

Meeting Room Pair

I’m in Tucson this week for the BHMA Fall Meeting.  My husband thinks it’s all fun and games, but we’ve been working hard on some new standards – one for ligature-resistant hardware and one for residential hardware.  There’s a lot more on the agenda over the next couple of days, but it’s a beautiful area […]

Providence School Inspections (and more)

Although the schools in Providence, Rhode Island, are supposed to be inspected by code officials annually, some had not been inspected for 10 YEARS.  I wonder how many public schools are in the same boat? From News 10 In other news, a 2nd/3rd grade class at St. Theresa’s School got stuck in their classroom and […]

Everywhere I Go

I recently compiled my family’s annual photo book, and I found A TON of door photos in the process.  Here are a few doors I’ve seen in my travels… I spotted an egress problem at the local YMCA, and then noticed the issue at the fire-rated stair door.  This facility did a large renovation/addition a […]

Fire & Egress Doors in the News

Theodore Firedoor…my hero!  And I’m going to start using the word “dodgy” whenever possible.  😀 High rise tenants asked to report dodgy fire doors in wake of Lakanal tragedy – 24Dash High rise tenants are being urged to report dodgy fire doors in their buildings following last week’s inquest verdict on the Lakanal House tragedy.  […]

WW: Cut it Out

Yes, this is a fire door.  Anyone see a problem here? Posted with permission from Theodore Firedoor…check him out on Facebook! You need to login or register to bookmark/favorite this content.

Impact of Citizen Involvement

I love it when people take action to rectify a code issue – especially when it’s a door problem.  Two articles landed on my desk in the last few days about just that – citizens who saw a deficiency and didn’t let it drop until it got some attention.  Both stories are from the UK […]

Decoded: NFPA 80 – 2013 FDAI Changes (August 2013)

This post was printed in the August 2013 issue of Doors & Hardware [Click here to download the reprint of this article.] As soon as I receive an updated code or standard, the first thing I do is look through it to see what’s new.  When I received my copy of the 2013 edition of […]

Recent News

Georgia school shooting: A hero emerges – Christian Science Monitor Though the school has a system where visitors must be buzzed in by staff, the gunman may have slipped inside behind someone authorized to be there, Alexander said. The suspect, who had no clear ties to the school, never got past the front office, where […]

Reader Photos

Thank you to everyone who has sent me photos of doors they’ve seen in their travels (or while laying on the couch).  Kelly Chimilar from Allmar Inc. noticed these doors with an obvious egress problem while watching Thursday Night Football.  If you don’t know what the problem is, I will hold a special online study […]

BM TRADA to stream live fire door test – 9/17/13

BM TRADA will be streaming a live fire door test over the internet on 17 September, offering viewers an opportunity to see for themselves the crucial role played by fire doors in saving lives and property. The one-hour fire resistance test will be streamed live from BM TRADA’s testing laboratories in High Wycombe (UK) in […]

Fire Doors – Everything you always wanted to know (but were afraid to ask)

This article was published in the October 2013 issue of Construction Specifier and won CSI’s Construction Specifier Article of the Year Award!! Fire doors are an important part of a building’s passive fire protection system, and doors in a means of egress provide life safety by allowing people to exit quickly when necessary. Still, the requirements […]

FF: Rodless

Instead of maintaining the fire exit hardware on this pair of fire doors, the rods and most of the latches were removed and an exit alarm was installed.  The most disturbing part is that there are doors like this EVERYWHERE…fire doors and egress doors that will no longer perform as designed, tested, and required by code, because […]

The Inspector – by Phil Chandler,

Last month I wrote about a fatal fire in a Manhattan high-rise residential building, where non-compliant fire doors likely had an effect on the outcome.  There was initially a lot of publicity surrounding this tragedy and even a proposal for new legislation, but as I feared, within a couple of weeks the media was no longer reporting on […]

Multi-Family Fire Door Safety – The Role of Fire Doors

Fire door assemblies play a vital role in the protection of life safety, yet many people remain unaware of their existence. We pass through these doors every day in commercial, institutional, and multi-family residential buildings. A lack of awareness…

Art Institute Fire Doors

These are 3-hour fire doors which divide the modern wing of the museum from the older wings. This is an award-winning museum which houses more than 300,000 works of art in its priceless collection. The chance of a fire may seem unlikely, but if a fire occurs, the wedged-open fire doors will not protect the rest of the museum…

DHI Technical Education in Dallas!

Back in the Olden Days when I went to hardware school, I couldn’t wait to get my AHC certification and become an instructor. I really looked up to them (and still do!). They were very knowledgeable but they had a lot of fun too. Then life happened…

The Effect of Oversized Clearances on Fire Door Tests (August 2014)

Rectifying clearance problems can be difficult and costly, so it may be tempting to leave non-compliant doors in place and assume that a little extra clearance won’t affect the performance of the fire door assembly; I can now say from first-hand experience that this is not true…

Fatal Fire – Lowell, Massachusetts

It’s too early to know whether fire doors or other passive fire protection measures played any role in the fire last week in a Lowell, Massachusetts apartment building where 7 residents were killed. Regardless, this fire underscores the value of passive fire protection, because many apartment buildings do not have active fire suppression systems – sprinklers…

NFPA 101 on Fire Door Inspection

Last week I was asked whether the 2012 edition of NFPA 101 – The Life Safety Code requires annual fire door inspections for health care facilities. As many of you know, the Joint Commission and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will soon be using the 2012 edition of NFPA 101 when they survey health care facilities…

Fatal Apartment Fire – Chicago, Illinois

According to news reports, it sounds like an open door or possibly two open doors, along with an illegally locked second exit and insufficient smoke detectors may have contributed to the deaths of 4 children in Chicago’s Roseland neighborhood…

Time-Sensitive Opportunities!

There are 3 educational opportunities coming up, but you have to act fast! An on-demand video of a fire door test – 1 week only! Access Control Training begins Thursday! The next online Decoded course begins tomorrow!

Fire Doors in the News

Lots of fire doors in the news, in large part because of Fire Door Safety Week last week!

Another Open Fire Door

A 42-unit apartment building was destroyed by fire last week in Columbus, Ohio. The fire began in a second-floor apartment, and the door to the apartment was left open when the resident evacuated. According to investigators, fire doors in the corridor and stairwell were also propped open, allowing the smoke and flames to spread and leaving the residents no safe escape route…

Fire Champ

Personally, I would love to take a photo, fill in some information, and have it routed to the correct fire department. But there are challenges when considering an app like this for use on a wider scale…

Online Decoded Class 2

My next online Decoded class will be held on Wednesday, December 17th from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Eastern. This is the second class in the series of 4 presented on behalf of the Door & Hardware Institute where I will cover the requirements for fire door assemblies, including…

Video: NIST Fire Simulation

A report recently released by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) examines the fire dynamics of a house fire in Chicago, where failure of a door released hot gases and resulted in the death of a firefighter. From NIST Tech Beat: “The simulation shows that fire in a covered back porch caused a […]

Fire Door Win! (and a fail)

Reporter Quote: “The people who ran from the room where the fire began left the door open behind them, and the fire quickly spread into the hallway…” Fire Department Quote: “There’s a fire door that separates the two compartments of that wing, and it did its job…”

WWYD? Fire Door Closing Cycle

I was asked this question last week – when testing a swinging fire door to determine whether it closes and latches, what degree of opening is used? Do you open the door fully? Does the door have to close and latch from any position?

Close the Door Please, I’m Busy in Here – Kelly M. Byrne

What I like about the Rescue 2 Training post is that it gives the firefighter perspective on why a closed door can be so helpful during a fire. If every firefighter understood the value of fire doors (and other doors), imagine how much more attention the non-compliant doors would get…

FF: Fire Code Fines

This news report is a great Fixed-it Friday example of how the city of Barrie, Ontario is going to fix their fire code violations – by giving fire inspectors the ability to hand out tickets for violations on the spot.  The fine for propping open fire doors?  $350 each! Click the graphic to access the […]

Anatomy of a Fire Door

Openings in fire-resistance-rated partitions are protected by fire door assemblies – also called opening protectives, an assembly of products which have been tested and listed for this purpose. These products may come from various manufacturers and can be listed by different test laboratories, but they work together as an important part of a building’s passive fire protection system…

Middle School Fire Contained by Closed Door

A malfunctioning power strip is getting most of the media attention for causing this fire, but Fox 13 reported that “a closed door kept the fire from spreading beyond the guidance counselors’ offices, and therefore it did not reach any classrooms.”


We just got back from NYC, where we were invited to visit the FDNY fire station for Engine 320 and Ladder 167 by the developer of the Cease Fire hinge, which I wrote about last fall. The kids are working on a project to help reduce deaths in home fires, so it was a privilege to visit the station and get all of their questions answered…

Anatomy of a Fire Door (video)

One of my original goals when I started this blog in 2009, was to make learning about codes less painful. I think these whiteboard animation videos do just that! Here’s the latest…all about fire door assemblies!

Fire Door Safety Week

It’s Fire Door Safety Week in the UK, and I can’t help but wonder why the US is so far behind in educating the public about the value of fire doors. It’s a shame, really.

Field Labeling of Fire Doors and Frames

With increased enforcement of the fire door assembly inspection requirements, deficiencies will no longer be ignored. When an AHJ sees non-labeled doors or frames in a location where a fire door assembly is required, it may be an indicator of other problems with the opening protective. In the past, there were limited options…

Fire Door Inspection Cards

A few months ago I posted some images of a new educational piece on fire door inspections. When I was in Carmel last month I saw one in person, and I think they’re great! They’re hard laminated cards – about 4 inches wide and 12 inches long. We have some in stock…

Landlord Jailed for Door Failure

Jay Liptrot is a Wales landlord, and ironically – a firefighter, who failed to install a fire door assembly to protect an apartment where 2 adults and 3 children died in a tragic act of arson. Although he was originally charged with manslaughter, his charge was reduced and he was convicted and sentenced to 15 months in prison…

WW: Fire Door Inspection

John Lozano of Allegion sent me these photos from a recent class on fire door inspection. What problems do you see on this pair of fire doors in a health care facility?

WW: Kick-Down Stops

Nathan Burkhardt of Opening Technologies sent me this Wordless Wednesday photo of the kick-down stops (holders) they removed from the fire doors on one of their projects. Wow.

WW: Trouble in Texarkana

I am writing this blog post from a hotel in Texarkana, Arkansas, where I saw the Wordless Wednesday door in the photos below. I hope that by the time you read this post I will be back on the road. Fingers crossed!

FF: NOT Fire Door

Today’s Fixed-it Friday post includes a serious question for all of you to ponder. I’ll get to it in a minute. First…I received the photos below from a code official…

FDAI in the News

I have several Google News alerts set, so every day I receive a few emails with lists of articles that might be interesting to the readers of iDigHardware. There was one on today’s list about fire door inspection…

QQ: Does every component of a fire door assembly have to be listed/labeled?

At least once a week someone asks me whether each and every component of a fire door assembly has to be listed or labeled…

FF: Stairs

I am often asked to provide “proof” that this type of repair is unacceptable. Often the most direct route to find that evidence is to ask…

Open Fire Door = Insurance Won’t Pay?

If insurance companies stop paying claims because of fire door assemblies that are not properly maintained, or because a fire door was not closed and latched when the fire occurred, fire doors are going to start getting a lot more attention…

WW: Delayed Egress Mag-Lock

With the recent adoption of NFPA 101-2012 by CMS, the annual inspection of fire door assemblies has become a top priority for many health care facilities…

Fire Door Inspection Training

I get calls every week about training on fire door inspections – how and where to learn more. I just read that NFPA and DSSF are teaming up to provide 1-day training sessions…

Arson at Westlake Apartments

This fire was also mentioned in a report called Selected Published Incidents Involving Fire Doors, which was compiled for me by NFPA’s One Stop Data Shop back in 2009…

Fire Door Inspection App

About 5 years ago I was in a large hospital that had just spent thousands of dollars (probably tens of thousands) to have a “pre-Joint-Commission inspection” done…

In the News…

A code inspector in Schenectady, New York has been indicted along with the building manager, in connection with a 2015 apartment fire that resulted in 4 fatalities…

FF: Cross-Corridor Pair

Today’s Fixed-it Friday photo came from Revelation Door Inspections. This is a pair of fire doors in a university education building. See any problems?

Cross-Corridor Pair Follow-Up

So far, there are 20 comments on the Fixed-it Friday post from last week, so I think a follow-up is in order…

Another Fire Door Win!

Readers often ask me to share photos of fire door assemblies that have helped to prevent a fire from spreading. I just received the photos below…

Fire Door Inspection Checklist

A long, long time ago, I created a fire door inspection checklist; it was even published in a book. Given the new requirements for health care facilities…

QQ: Can fire exit hardware be installed on a non-fire-rated door?

What if a facility locksmith has fire exit hardware on the shelf and considers installing it on a non-fire-rated door? Or maybe a fire door is no longer needed…

QQ: Does the Joint Commission require fire door inspectors to be certified?

I have received several calls from people who are interested in becoming fire door inspectors or who are wondering if an inspection by their in-house staff is acceptable to the Joint Commission…

WW: Screwed

This Wordless Wednesday photo is from the newly-deputized Joe Cross of Allegion. I have no words…at least no words that would be allowed on a corporate website…

QQ: Gasketing Requirements of NFPA 101

Which door openings are required to have gasketing, according to NFPA 101 – The Life Safety Code?

WWYD? Bottom Gap on Fire-Rated Frames

The application is in a building where the floors are out of level, and the fire door frames are installed with one jamb flush with the floor, leaving the other jamb with a gap…

QQ/WWYD? Excessive Clearance on Fire Doors

The rapidly-approaching deadline for fire door inspections in health care facilities is resulting in LOTS of questions about fire door assemblies.  The most FAQ in the last few weeks has been… When a fire door has more clearance than what is allowed by NFPA 80, can a door sweep and/or gasketing be added to solve […]

WW: Double Labels

Can someone explain this please?

FF: Count the Fire Door Problems

Even if this jurisdiction is not yet enforcing fire door assembly inspections for schools, the school is required to keep their fire doors code-compliant and to repair them in a manner that is acceptable to NFPA 80…

Grenfell Tower Fire, London

While the exterior cladding on the building is being investigated for its contribution to the blaze, there are also news reports where witnesses are quoted as saying that the door leading to the apartment of fire origin was left open. This undoubtedly impacted the egress routes…

Decoded: Securing Parking Garages (September 2017)

Without proper planning, parking garages can present security and life-safety challenges. People who are authorized to use the parking area – or unauthorized people who are able to enter an open parking garage – may attempt to gain access to other floors of the building…

WWYD? Measuring Clearance

I was contacted last week by a door and hardware distributor who has provided fire door assemblies with hollow metal frames and wood doors on a hospital project…

Decoded: Fire Door Assembly Classifications (October 2017)

NFPA 80 – Standard for Fire Doors and Other Opening Protectives, classifies openings protected by fire door assemblies in one of five categories…

Fire Door Latching

In order for a fire door assembly to perform as designed and tested, it’s critical for the door to be closed and latched if/when a fire occurs…

Fire Door Video

It’s Fire Door Safety Week in the UK, and although we don’t have an official week dedicated to fire doors in the US, I’m going to share some of the great information from the UK…

WWYD? Fire Door Safety Week

A couple of years ago, someone called me during the UK’s Fire Door Safety Week. I remember it clearly because not too many people call me these days…

NFPA Webinar: Influence of gap size around swinging doors on fire and smoke development

NFPA recently posted the video of a webinar that answers some questions about clearances around fire door and smoke door assemblies…

WW: Furniture Store

I know of several fires where the fire door protected the store from a fire in the warehouse; the doors in this photo won’t be providing any protection whatsoever…

Fire Door Clearances – Webinar Notes

The other day I posted a video of a webinar about the clearances around fire doors and the effects of those clearances on the performance of the assembly…

Decoded: Alterations to Fire Door Assemblies (Updated October 2017)

You may remember that I’m working on a series of online code classes, which will be available early in 2018.  To support those classes, I am updating some of my past Decoded articles to include revisions from new editions of the codes and standards.  Here is the latest information regarding alterations of fire door assemblies. […]

Specifying Zombie-Resistant Door Openings (Update)

While ensuring code-compliance, of course! On Halloween, 2013, I wrote a blog post about how to specify zombie-resistant door openings that are also code-compliant.  At the time, this post was one of my most frequently-read pieces, but since 2013 the traffic has increased almost 3-fold!  With so many new readers, I’m positive that some of […]

I-Team: Fire-Rated, Self-Closing Door Was Required in Bronx Apartment Where Inferno Started

I suspect that many of you already know what the topic of today’s post will be; many readers sent me links to news reports on last week’s fire in a Bronx apartment building.  Twelve people have died and four more were critically injured in this fire which was reportedly started by a toddler playing with […]

WWYD? Fire Door Assembly Inspection

The extended deadline has now passed. Facilities that receive funding from Medicare and/or Medicaid must have fire door assembly inspections conducted annually and documented, with any deficiencies repaired “without delay.”

QQ: Empty Tab Slots

The increased enforcement of the inspection requirements for fire door assemblies has brought some pretty intense scrutiny upon the various components.  In some cases we’re finding that NFPA 80 and the model codes don’t currently address the fine details of how these assemblies are tested and constructed. I was recently contacted by a facility that […]

WWYD? 5th/6th Screw in Closer Shoe

Should “missing” screws in a parallel-arm shoe be cited as a deficiency during a fire door inspection?

WWYD? How can we help UL spread their message?

You have all heard me talk about how important it is to sleep with your bedroom door closed at night – to benefit from the protection provided by a closed door.  I’ve been writing about fire doors on iDigHardware for 9 YEARS(!), trying to inform as many people as possible about the purpose of fire […]

Door Loops / Door Cords for Fire Door Assemblies

One of the most frequently-cited products seems to be the door loop or door cord. In order to address this problem, Schlage series 788 and 789 armored door cords are now classified by UL to UL 10C, and are acceptable for use on fire door assemblies.

QQ: Signage on Fire Door Frames

Does NFPA 80 allow small signs on fire door frames? Are there limitations on the size, material, and method of attachment?

WWYD? Joint Commission Policy Changes

I’m just going to admit it – I’m confused – and I’m hoping that someone who works more closely with the Joint Commission can help to clear this up.  The Joint Commission recently distributed a document giving notice of 3 changes to their standards; 2 of the changes involve doors, and the effective date is […]

Fire department uses aftermath of recent fire as teaching tool for safety

This video from a recent fire in a dormitory at Idaho State University really shows the difference that a closed door can make.

Short-Term Rentals

So let’s say that I’m thinking about renting out my college-bound daughter’s bedroom on Airbnb to help offset the cost of her books and fees. Does her bedroom door need to be a fire door? Is my house now a small hotel?

I-Team: Faulty Fire Doors Persist Even After Bronx Inferno Killed 13

This is what I’ve been saying all along. Why has it taken so many deaths and injuries to get people to pay attention?

FF: Positive Latching

As hopefully most of you know by now, corridor doors in health care facilities are required by NFPA 101 to have positive-latching hardware.  Lance Werner of Allegion sent me this photo of a pair of fire doors in a nursing home, leading to a linen storage room.  A Schlage LM9200 would have been a much […]

Self-Closing Residential Doors Required by Law

A new package of fire safety laws has now been approved and is on the mayor’s desk awaiting his signature…

Locksmith Ledger: What’s a fire door for?

When I first started working in the door and hardware industry, I learned all about the rules that apply to fire doors, but I didn’t fully appreciate the value of a closed door during a fire.

QQ: Gasketing Continuity

During a fire door assembly inspection, should a flashlight be used to verify whether the gasketing is continuous?

Who’s at fault?

Could a locksmith be held liable for installing non-code-compliant hardware or will a facility manager face liability for failing to maintain openings in code-compliant condition?

WW: College Dorm Exit Stair

This summer I visited quite a few colleges, and this dorm left me Wordless. 🙁 Can you find all of the code-related issues with these fire doors and egress doors?

WWYD? Fire Door Safety Week

The British Woodworking Federation offers dozens of resources to increase awareness about fire door assemblies across the UK. What types of tools do we need in the US?

WW: Hotel Hinges

Considering the liability a hotel could face if their fire door assemblies failed to perform during a fire, the repair methods employed by many hotels seem pretty irresponsible.

Decoded: Code Requirements for Hotels and other Residential Occupancies (November 2018)

Code issues are not uncommon in hotels, apartment buildings, and other residential occupancies. My next Decoded article addresses some things to look for.

Fire Door Decommissioning Labels

What’s the proper protocol when a fire door assembly has been installed where it is not required? If you’re considering the use of decomissioning labels, read this first.

WWYD? Hole, No Strike

On a fire door assembly, is it acceptable to drill/cut a hole in the frame for the latchbolt, and not install the strike?

QQ: Field Preps for Auxiliary Fire Pins

Can less-bottom-rod (LBR) fire exit hardware with an auxiliary fire pin be installed on an existing fire door? If you have anything to add, please weigh in!

Decoded: Where are fire door inspections required by code? (December 2018)

The answer: In almost every US state. With that said, having it required by code and having it enforced by the AHJ are sometimes two different things.

New: Maximum Hole Size for Job-Site Preps

If you’re not in the habit of reading NFPA 80 cover-to-cover each time it is updated, this one might have slipped by you. It’s an important change.

QQ: Job-Site Preps for Fire Doors

Follow-Up #1: For which types of hardware does NFPA 80 allow job-site preparations to be made in fire door assemblies?

More on GWB Penetration – Fire-Rated Frames

Have you ever run into a situation where a piece of hardware or a mortar box in a fire-rated frame prevented the GWB from penetrating 1/2-inch into the frame, as required by NFPA 80?

NFPA Journal: Mind the Gap

To bring more clarity, the Fire Protection Research Foundation has begun work on a full-scale fire test on fire doors with varying gaps between the door and frame.

Enforcement of 5-Pound Operable Force Limit

Heads up – the 5-pound force limit on operable hardware is something everyone should be aware of long before the final inspection by the AHJ.

WWYD? NFPA 80/105 Updates

It’s almost time to submit change proposals for NFPA 80 and NFPA 105 – tell me what’s on your wish list and I’ll see what I can do to help!

QQ/WWYD?: Old Fire Doors With 2 Hinges

Is an existing fire door assembly with 2 hinges acceptable, or should it be noted as a deficiency during a fire door inspection?

North Tunica County Fire Department

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?

QQ: Painting/Refinishing Fire Doors

Does painting or refinishing a fire door in the field void the label? The answer to today’s Quick Question seems obvious, but can you prove it?

Construction Specifier: Smoke Doors vs. Fire Doors – What’s the Difference?

I receive so many questions about fire doors vs. smoke doors; my article from the June issue of Construction Specifier answer many of them.

See the index for another category:

  • Accessibility
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  • Articles
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  • Electrified Hardware
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  • Funky Applications
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  • General Info
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  • Guest Post
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  • Hinges & Pivots
  • Historical
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  • Push/Pull
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  • Road Trips
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  • Sliding and Folding Doors
  • Smoke
  • Stops
  • Uncategorized
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  • WHY?
  • Windstorm
  • Wordless Wednesday
  • WWYD?

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