Fire Door Essentials

Inappropriately deployed locking hardware endangers lives.

Do not confuse a roller latch which is used with rim exit devices, with a roller catch.

Fire doors must be only equipped with fire listed hardware but not all fire doors may be used with Exit Hardware. Exit devices may be used on labeled doors provided the door labeling specifically states “Fire Door To Be Used With Fire Exit Hardware.”

Doors that are designed to be fire exit doors can only be held open if they automatically release when building fire alarms are activated. Electromagnetic release devices are the only ones which will close quickly enough to prevent the passage of the toxic gases and smoke. These devices are connected to the AFP systems and release their hold upon alarm.

Verify proper hardware selections by consulting current editions of:

“Building Materials Directory” published by Underwriters Laboratories Inc..

“Directory of Listed Products” published by Intertek Testing Services

“Hardware for Labeled Fire Doors” published by the Door and Hardware Institute.

NFPA 80, “Standard for Fire Doors and Fire Windows” provides guidance for installing fire doors and frames and hardware in the openings of a building.

It is my experience that ongoing study is mandatory in order to maintain an adequate working knowledge and understanding of building and life safety codes. The more you learn, the more you realize you don’t know. This article only scratches the surface of the topic of Fire Doors, and is not intended in any way to represent a complete discussion or final word on the topic.


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