Jan 21, 2022 8:00:00 AM / by LSS

Are Your Fire Doors Closed  Blog Image

Fire doors are one of the most important fire safety products on your property. They help prevent fire and smoke from spreading throughout the building, while giving occupants time to evacuate. Fire doors are complex devices and require regular inspection and maintenance to ensure compliance and functionality. Preventing the spread of fire and smoke is one of the many reasons why fire doors are installed however, it must remain in the closed position and not propped open in order for it to be effective.

Keeping fire doors closed can be the difference between life and death in the event that a fire is to occur. Fire uses oxygen to burn, and a closed door with proper clearance dimensions around the perimeter of the door will help limit the oxygen flow to the fire. Denying oxygen to the fire results in the lack of fuel to continue growing. This will keep the fire contained, which will help limit property damage and most importantly allow occupants to evacuate safely from the building.

Unfortunately, the most recent fatal fire tragedy that took place in Bronx, NY was a situation of a door left open and a faulty alarm system. Fire and smoke traveled rapidly through the apartment building which could have been contained in the area of origin for longer if the door was closed. This heart wrenching event is why we preach the importance of routine fire and life safety system tests and inspections to ensure the safety of all building occupants.


Fire Door Inspections

Do you fear the fire doors within your facility are not in compliance? If you have to second guess it, then it is time for an inspection. Fire rated door inspections are part of the routine maintenance of a building. Fire Doors are very complex and consist of many different parts, which is why deficiencies are common to occur over time.

Facility fire doors must be tested and inspected annually, in order to provide a written record for your AHJ. This may seem like a tedious task but LSS Life Safety Services is here to make it convenient and easy for you to manage. Due to the complex design of fire rated doors this requires a qualified inspector in the field to perform the inspection as accurately as NFPA requires. Not to mention, the challenge of keeping up with the most to date code, as they tend to change from time to time.


NFPA Fire Door Code

NFPA 80, Section states that, as a minimum, the following items must be verified:

  • No open holes or breaks exist in surfaces of either the door or frame.
  • Glazing, vision light frames & glazing beads are intact and securely fastened in place, if so equipped.
  • The door, frame, hinges, hardware, and noncombustible threshold are secured, aligned, and in working order with no visible signs of damage.
  • No parts are missing or broken.
  • Door clearances at the door edge of the door frame, on the pull side of the door, do not exceed clearances listed in 4.8.4 (the clearance under the bottom of the door shall be a maximum of 3/4″) and 6.3.1 (top & edges 1/8″).
  • The self-closing device is operational; that is, the active door completely closes when operated from the full open position.
  • If a coordinator is installed, the inactive leaf closes before the active leaf.
  • Latching hardware operates and secures the door when it is in the closed position.
  • Auxiliary hardware items that interfere or prohibit operation are not installed on the door or frame.
  • No field modifications to the door assembly have been performed that void the label.
  • Gasketing and edge seals, where required, are inspected to verify their presence and integrity.


Manual Fire Door Inspections

As complex as fire doors are it requires a knowledgeable professional in the field. However, there are five parts of a fire door that can be checked by anyone. So, here is a quick and easy fire door check list that should be inspected on a regular basis, if you detect any issues with the following, contact us immediately to schedule inspection and repair services.

  • Confirm Fire Door Certification

Using the selfie function on your camera phone or a mirror, you can check to make sure the door’s fire-rated labels are not missing or damaged.


  • Check for Gaps

Gap allowances depend on the type of door, as a rule of thumb, if you can see light under the door, the gap is likely to be too big. Large gaps in the fire doors can allow smoke and fire to travel through.


  • Inspect Gasket and Edge Seals

Gaskets and Edge Seals should expand if they become in contact with heat to ensure fire (and in some cases smoke) can’t pass through. If not, the door may not be in compliance and it may not protect you long enough in the event of a fire.


  • Check the Fire Door Hinges

If you detect problems, report it – the door is in need of immediate repair. If you are unsure, give us a call to schedule an inspection.


  • Door Closes Properly

Open the door about halfway, let go and allow it to close by itself. Does it close firmly onto the latch without sticking on the floor or the frame? If not, it is in need of repair.


Keeping fire doors blocked to stay in the open position is a very common fire door deficiency that you see in all types of facilities. Fire doors contain fire and smoke to a specific location and provide a safe evacuation for building occupants. However, if a fire door is propped open in the event of a fire, it will be worthless.

In conclusion, keep your fire doors shut! The lives of everyone inside depend on it.


*LSS Life Safety Services sends our deepest condolences to the families of those lost in the Bronx, NY apartment fire tragedy. May they find peace and comfort during this difficult time.


Contact Us Here or call 888-675-4519

Tags: Fire Door Inspection, Overhead & Rolling Door Inspections, NFPA 80, Fire Door Repair, Fire Door Testing, Fire Door Requirements, Fire Door Testing Requirements


Written by LSS

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