Ensuring Fire Safety in Your Building: The Importance of Annual Fire Door Inspections

Ensuring Fire Safety in Your Building: The Importance of Annual Fire Door Inspections

A few years ago, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 80, Standard for Fire Doors and Other Opening Protectives, mandated annual inspections for fire doors in institutional and commercial facilities. However, many managers assumed that the local fire marshals would perform the inspections, while most fire marshals claimed that they did not have the necessary resources to do so. Currently, NFPA 80 is being adopted into building codes as a requirement, and the International Building Code is the most widely used building code.

The main change is the requirement for annual inspection and testing of all fire doors, with the building owner responsible for carrying out and documenting the inspections. More fire marshals are now asking to see the inspection documentation during their annual inspection of the facility. This change is due to post-fire examinations, which showed that fire-related injuries and deaths had occurred as a result of improperly functioning fire doors.

Fire doors are installed between discrete areas of the building, in corridors between building sections, and in interior stairwells to stop the spread of smoke and fire and to provide a safe path of egress in the event of a fire. Fire doors and their frames must be labeled, but unfortunately, many labels have been painted over or otherwise rendered unreadable.

NFPA 80 outlines specific items to inspect and tests that are to be performed on each fire door. These steps represent the minimum inspection and testing requirements. The most common defects found during a typical inspection include failure of the door latch to secure the closed door, damaged or missing door closer, painted over or missing door or frame label, blocked door, and an excessive gap between the door and the frame or floor.

It is not necessary to use a certified door inspector to perform the annual testing and inspections. NFPA 80 defines a qualified person for performing the tests and inspections as someone with the appropriate knowledge, training, and experience to perform the work. This gives managers two options: in-house performance of the testing and inspections and outsourcing.

Back to blog