People who don’t know a lot about fire safety can confuse a fire door from a fire exit. They think these two terms are synonymous and can be used interchangeably. To set the record straight, these two doors are completely different and have different functions.
Many institutions end up purchasing and installing fire doors when the main requirement should be fire exit doors. They should know the difference between these two doors to avoid wasting money.
Semantics aside, what are the differences between these two doors?
One Door is External, the Other Internal
Fire exits are external doors that allow people to escape quickly from a fire. Fire exits also double as security doors. They allow people to leave but prevent them going back inside. It also prevents trespassers from entering the building premises.
Fire doors, meanwhile, are internal doors that prevent fire from spreading into other parts of the building. These doors are usually located near stairwells, kitchens and storage areas where combustible materials are stored.
One Should Open Easily, the Other Closed Tightly
Fire exits are designed to open easily. These doors have a push or panic bar that allows people to open them with ease. Although fire exits open easily, they should remain closed when there’s no fire. In addition, these doors should not be obstructed by any object.
People can’t open fire doors. Given how these doors were designed, they shouldn’t be opened at all. They remain closed to protect escape routes when there’s a fire.
The Signs Tell All
Institutions should install the correct signs to the appropriate door. Fire exits should have a clear “Emergency Exit” sign on top of the door. They should also be well lit in case power goes out. Fire doors, on the other hand, should have the “Keep Closed” attached on the door.
Confusing these two doors is dangerous as fire doors are designed to compartmentalize fire. If a building catches fire, occupants should proceed to the fire exit and not the fire door.