Ruth Das - 11th Oct 2021

What are Fire Doors? How do they work?

Fire Door be like

Ever wondered why some doors in your building are super heavy? The ones that take the might of superman and hulk combined? Chances are you've come across an integral part of the fire safety in your building, The Fire door.

Fire doors help the compartmentalization of buildings, helping in delaying the spread of fires. Since these compartments are usually linked by the fire doors, they serve two functions; when closed they form a barrier to stop the spread of fire and when opened they provide a means of escape.

A well-designed fire door will delay the spread of fire and smoke without causing too much hindrance to the movement of people and goods. A fire door aims to act as a barrier to not only the fire but also smoke. It does its job to varying degrees depending on its location in the building and the fire hazards around it.

Double fire door after 3 hour fire test in a 4-hour Durasteel wall, during successful 45PSI (3.1 bar) hose stream test leading to a UL Listing.[1]
Double fire door after 3 hour fire test in a 4-hour Durasteel wall, during successful 45PSI (3.1 bar) hose stream test leading to a UL Listing.
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So, What are fire doors made of?

Double fire door immediately after 3 hour fire test inside a 4-hour rated Durasteel wall.
Double fire door immediately after 3 hour fire test inside a 4-hour rated Durasteel wall..

Fire doors can be made with a combination of timber, steel, gypsum, and aluminum. They can also have windows, which are made from borosilicate or ceramic glass (both of which offer a higher fire resistance than standard glass), and may contain an anti-shattering wire mesh.

To enhance their fire-stopping abilities, fire doors are flush with the frame. Any or all gaps are filled with silicone-based fire-resistant sealant. These are often accompanied by a keluar (exit) sign and an intumescent strip attached at the bottom of the door, which expands when exposed to heat to prevent smoke from seeping underneath.

Fire doors are commonly designed to include a closing mechanism. Usually fitted at the top of a door, these spring-loaded or hydraulic mechanisms force the door closed, preventing fire and smoke from passing from one area to another.

It’s worth mentioning that while many doors may contain some or all of these features, they may not necessarily be ‘fire doors’. To be called a ‘fire door’, a design must be certified by Bomba and SIRIM. Fire door certification is awarded once a door has passed various tests at an approved center, including a fire and stress simulation. You can tell which doors have been certified by a label attached to their top edge, which states the manufacturer, date of manufacture, and designated fire rating.

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Fire Door rating

Fire doors are labeled based on the amount of time (in hours or minutes) the door is expected to provide protection. Other than the time, the type of the door is also mentioned (one leaf being one door, two leaf being two doors). The size, use, and complexity of the building determine the factors in selecting the fire door for your building.  Where a safe escape is straight forward there may be no requirement for fire doors at all, but in a complex building or where users may require assistance to escape then fire doors with higher fire ratings may be necessary. 

1hr to 4 hr rating fire rated shutter door
An example of a 2 hour rating fire door tag.
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How do i get a fire door?

Fire Doors are an essential part of a complete fire safety protection plan for any facility. While it is important to understand the difference between available Fire Door options, the design, installation, and maintenance of these doors should always be handled by trained professionals. Once your Fire Door is installed, our fire protection professionals will work with you to develop a maintenance program that meets your needs and ensures the utmost safety for your employees, Family, and assets. Fire doors in Malaysia need to be in accordance to the law. This means it has to be BOMBA and SIRIM approved. We have trained professionals that can help with the installation of fire doors, new or existing.

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