The Importance of Maintaining Fire Doors in Nursing Homes
Growing up we all had someone to take care of us. Now that we are older we want to give back to them the same care that they gave to us. As a nursing home, making sure you have a strong fire safety plan for your elderly residents is important. Fire Doors are one of the many key components in passive fire protection to ensure their safety.
In a nursing home Fire Doors function as any regular door would function. However, Fire Doors are a part of a fire protection system in place to guarantee the safety of your tenants as well as the nursing staff. For the most part Fire Doors are to stay completely closed. According to the National Fire Protection Association NFPA 80 section 18.104.22.168, there should be no open holes or breaks in the surface of either the door or the door frame. This helps to compartmentalize your nursing home, preventing the spread of fire. It also allows time for your elderly who may not be easily mobile to escape the fire.
Fire doors are complicated devices, with many different parts working together to help prevent the spread of fire. Nevertheless, there are many different deficits that can occur over time, so it is important to know what to watch out for. Some of the most common Fire Door deficiencies include:
- Painted or missing fire door labels
- Poor clearance dimensions around the perimeter of the door in the closed position
- Kick down door holders
- Auxiliary hardware items that interfere with the intended function of the door (barrel bolts and dead bolts, etc.)
- Fire doors blocked to stay in the open position
- Area surrounding the fire door assembly blocked by furniture, equipment and/or boxes
- Broken, defective or missing hardware items (latch bolts and/or strike plated, closer arms, cover plates, etc.)
- Fire exit hardware installed on doors that are not labeled for use with fire exit hardware
- Missing or incorrect fasteners
- Bottom flush bolts that do not project 1/2″ into the strike
To assure that fire doors are working properly NFPA 80 section 5.2.1 mandates that fire doors should be inspected and tested at least once a year. You live or work in a facility in which the residents sometimes may not be able to take care of themselves. They depend on us, as fire professionals and facility managers, to keep them safe and care for them in the ways they cannot help themselves. If you aren’t inspecting and maintaining your fire doors on a regular basis, you are sincerely letting our elderly down.