By their very existence in a home or commercial structure, fire doors can provide a critical level of protection for the lives of the inhabitants in case of a fire in the building. A fast-breaking fire can consume a structure quickly and without a fire-fighting team close at hand, the only way to slow the spread of a fast fire is through the presence of fire doors to slow it down. By being integrated into the overall structure, fire doors can allow the brief extra time needed to evacuate a burning building. They are the first line of defense in stairwells to prevent them from being blocked off by flames and smoke.
Fire doors can block the heat, smoke, and flames thrown up against it for a good amount of time before succumbing to the destructive force of the fire. On average, a fire door can withstand the onslaught for up to two hours before buckling. This is an abundance of time to allow the evacuation of people as well as providing safer and better ingress for fire-fighting personnel. That passive protection is well worth whatever cost is incurred by installing fire doors instead of a regular door.
The components of a typical fire door are very different from a regular door. Fire-resistant materials such as steel, aluminum, gypsum, glass or vermiculite boards comprise some of the materials that keep a fire door from succumbing to heat ad flame. Fire doors also have heat seals around them that expand in extreme heat so that smoke cannot pass through and also to prevent incoming air to feed the fire on the other side.
Even the glass that some fire doors contain as windows is specially constructed to stay intact under fire conditions as well as the impact of a water stream from a fire hose. They often are reinforced with wire mesh or are made from ceramic glass. Some are double pained with a sodium silicate liquid filling to insulate against the heat.
The primary reasons a fire door mat fail to do it’s job is because of improper use or installation. A fire door should never be blocked open although many establishments make this unsafe practice a normal part of daily life because of the latching mechanisms designed to keep them closed. Another major mistake is to run carpet under the bottom of an internal fire door. Carpet is like a fuse that will circumvent your fire door instantly.