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Fire Doors and How They Work

October 27, 2020 | Security & Safety

October is Fire Awareness and Prevention Month and its main goal is to bring awareness to the dangers of fire as well as help individuals and businesses learn prevention techniques that could save lives. 

Common in commercial buildings, fire-rated doors, sometimes referred to as a fire-resistant door, is a unique door type that is specifically designed to slow and prevent the spread of a fire and smoke. Fire doors are often made of fire resistant materials like metal, gypsum, wire mesh, glass or vermiculite. Most fire doors are usually heavier than typical commercial doors. 

Fire doors are typically self-closing and self-sealing to ensure their functionality holds up in case of an emergency. Fire doors have a specific rating system that denotes the strength and durability of each door in the case of a fire. The types typically include: 

  • FD30 which are rated to withstand up to 30 minutes of a fire
  • FD60 which are rated to withstand up to 60 minutes of a fire
  • FD90 which are rated to withstand up to 90 minutes of a fire
  • FD120 which are rated to withstand up to 120 minutes of a fire

For extra protection, fire doors are fitted with what are called intumescent strips which play a part in which rating each fire-rated door achieves. Each of these strips is fit within the frame or the end of the door. If a fire breaks out, the heat activates these strips which then expand and seal the gap between the door and the frame. This helps prevent the spread of the fire to other areas.

The purpose of fire-rated doors is to slow the spread of a fire long enough to allow people the time to get out safely as well as reduce the amount of damage incurred to a property. 

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