BWF’s Fire Door Safety Week is an important initiative

Chris Miller, Doors Product Manager at JELD-WEN, explains why the BWF’s Fire Door Safety Week (15-21 September) is such an important initiative and why homeowners need to be aware of how crucial fire doors are in keeping their family safe.

Fire doors save lives

When embarking on a renovation project, most homeowners tend to be preoccupied with aesthetics but it’s crucial that properties are compliant with the latest fire safety regulations to ensure that, in the event of a fire, the occupants have the best chance of survival. Fire doors are a crucial part of the passive fire protection of every commercial, public and multiple occupancy building – they save lives and property. Fire doors are available in a range of ratings to indicate their level of fire resistance. FD30 doors represent the minimum rating, providing 30 minutes fire resistance, with higher specification FD60 doors available, which offer additional time and further protection.

Fire doors are specifically designed to save lives by reducing the rate at which fire spreads through a building but fitting these correctly and following the manufacturer’s instructions are crucial in making sure that they perform at optimum efficiency. Fire doors are fitted with intumescent strips along the sides and top of the door or door frame, which lay dormant during everyday use but rapidly expands when exposed to extreme heat, sealing the gaps around the perimeter of the door and holding the door firmly in place. To ensure that this protective barrier is effective, it is important that the doors are kept closed at all times and shouldn’t be propped or wedged open and it is important not to disconnect the fire door closer.

Staying safe and stylish

As fire doors are typically thicker than standard doors, trade professionals usually need to replace both the door and its frame, adding to both the complexity and cost of the project. JELD-WEN has solved this problem by developing an exclusive collection of FireGuard® FD30 doors that offers 30 minutes fire protection, while retaining the standard 35mm thick door construction. By choosing this option, doors can be updated without having to remove the existing frames and linings, saving both time and money. The FireGuard® range combines function and safety with a stylish, slim line finish, which is also available in various designs, including various moulded finishes, along with real wood veneers and paint grade doors, and providing fire safety protection without compromising on style.

It is important that fire doors, frames and components are purchased from certified companies as well as being rated by the British Woodworking Federation. The BWF-CERTIFIRE scheme indicates that door specifications and manufacturing methods have been assessed under strict regulations and audited regularly to meet high safety standards. Doors that have been accredited can be identified by the BWF-CERTIFIRE label on the top edge of the door and ironmongery components such as hinges, locks and latches must be CE marked. It is also strongly recommended that you check that the certificate matches the door and that it is the correct certification for the door’s intended use. All JELD-WEN fire doors and fire doorsets are rated by the BWF-CERTIFIRE scheme, to demonstrate that they comply with the highest safety regulations.

Fire dos and don’ts

As it is an engineered safety device, a fire door cannot be fitted like any other door, and therefore, you must closely follow the full fitting instructions in order to ensure its effectiveness in the event of a fire. Fire doors can usually be trimmed, but the amount can vary from door to door, so always read the instructions to ensure you are not disregarding any safety regulations. It’s important that if a fire door is trimmed, the BWF-CERTIFIRE label is not removed. Unless certified to do so it is essential that there are no alterations made to a fire door on site. This includes never cutting holes or inserting glazing into a fire door. Be sure that fire doors are fitted with correct and compatible components suited to the door leaf and its purpose. And as with any fire safety device, fire doors should be installed and maintained by competent personnel. The Fire Door Register is a new certified installer programme, which aims to bring greater recognition to professional fire door installers, as well as helping home and building owners find qualified and certified people they can trust (for more information visit www.firedoorinstaller.co.uk).

Building Control recommends when a fire door is required, but fire doors are worth considering in any situation as they give you that extra peace of mind should the worst happen. Last year 200 people died in fires in the home so Fire Door Safety Week is a great opportunity to raise awareness of the critical role correctly installed fire doors play in saving lives. It enables this topic to be placed at the top of the agenda, allowing every area of the industry to be educated on fire safety and is key in ensuring they choose premium products that comply with the latest regulations. For more information visit JELD-WEN’s website, www.jeld-wen.co.uk, where you’ll also be able to access a ‘how to’ video on fitting fire doors correctly.