Fire Door Violations

Fire doors can assist in saving your building from fire damage by containing the damage to the room of origin. Fire doors must remain closed unless connected to the fire alarm system. Fire doors and doors in the path of travel to an exit must be tested monthly to ensure they operate. The best practice is to inspect, test, and maintain your fire doors annually in conformance with NFPA 80. Contact me to discuss fire door inspections in your building. 

Email: Jim@firecodesolutions.caPhone: 306-519-9535

KICK DOWN doorstops and panic hardware, So What? 

Kickdown doorstops and wooden wedges are often used to prop open fire doors, and we often see panic hardware on doors. However, panic hardware is different than fire exit hardware. Not sure of the difference? Keep reading and watch the video to see an example of panic hardware installed in the wrong location. 

Why are fire doors important? 

Fire doors are an integral component of fire protection and life safety within a building. A fire door is intended to maintain the integrity of the fire separation by limiting the movement of smoke or heat from one fire compartment to another. Fire doors are everywhere. Because of this, they are often overlooked. 

Compartmentation  and the 7 Principles of Life Safety

Fire doors are one of the ways of protecting an opening within a fire separation. Fire doors are part of compartmentation. Compartmentation is one of the 7 Principles of Life Safety. If you haven't heard of the 7 Principles of Life Safety, check out my blog post at 7 Principles of Life Safety and the Missing 8th.

As fire doors are intended to prevent the movement of smoke and heat, they must self-close and positively latch after opening. Thereby maintaining the integrity of the fire separation.

The video shows a kick-down doorstop installed. Kickdown doorstops are not permitted as they keep the door in the open position. Fire doors can be held in open if they are equipped with the appropriate hardware.

Panic Hardware vs Fire Exit Hardware

The term “panic hardware” is often used in many contexts. However, there are differences between panic hardware and fire exit hardware. In Canada, panic hardware is typically required to be installed on egress and exit doors in higher occupant load floor areas or buildings, i.e. more than 100 people, or on exit doors from a floor area containing a high-hazard industrial occupancy. If the door is located in a rated fire separation, it is a fire door and requires fire exit hardware rather than panic hardware. Fire exit hardware not only undergoes testing for the operation of the device but is also tested under fire conditions.

Quick tip 1:

Fire rated door - fire exit hardware 

Non-fire-rated door - panic hardware

Quick tip 2:

If you see a hole for an Allen Key or Hex Key, it’s a quick visual that the hardware is panic hardware and not fire exit hardware. The Allen key is used to hold the latch in the retracted or unsecured position (commonly known as dogging). This allows the door to swing open freely without depressing the hardware. 

To fix these violations, the panic hardware must be replaced with fire exit hardware, and the kick-down doorstop must be removed. The holes left in the door must be sealed with steel bolts or fire door caulk installed in conformance with the manufacturer’s instructions. 

Image of fire door with a kickdown doorstop and panic hardware installed.

YouTube: Fire Door Violations