With the recent wildfires in British Columbia, it’s more important than ever to understand how to protect your building from potential disasters. The City of Vancouver has certain regulations and rules when it comes to fire safety and as such, anyone who owns or manages a residential or commercial building must follow these rules. These include having fire doors.
Protecting from fire and smoke
The best way to protect your tenants, residents, visitors and workers who might be in your building is to have fire doors installed which can help compartmentalize different sections of your building so that if there is a fire, the fire will be contained to one section.
Many apartment or condo buildings as well as commercial buildings have fire doors installed to separate different “wings” of the structure. This is a great idea because if one unit inside this wing does have a fire, it will likely not spread to other parts of the building.
Because they are able to help minimize the spreading of smoke and fire, fire doors are considered a passive form of fire protection. It also helps people inside escape (or egress) from the building safely. Many building codes, in fact, require the installation of fire doors for these very reasons.
What is a fire door exactly?
Aside from a door itself, to be considered a “fire door” a closure must contain several components and be rated for fire safety as well. These components inside the door may include items like glass, gypsum, aluminum, steel, etc.
Both the door frame and the door leaf (the part that actually swings) must pass strict guidelines and testing in order to be approved as a fire door. The frame must include appropriate seals to protect from both fire and smoke, and of course the door hardware (the handles, hinges and screws) must all also be fire-proof and keep elements out. Also important to note, is that not only are all these components (together called a “doorset”) supposed to keep a fire or smoke from traversing a barrier, but it’s also supposed to keep it at bay for a certain length of time as well.
City of Vancouver Fire Bylaw 8191
Within the City of Vancouver, it is actually the law that you must properly labelled and have the right equipment. This includes self-closing doors which latch properly, they cannot be locked in order to allow egress (or exit) if necessary during an emergency, fire doors must be properly labelled and lastly, fire doors are not permitted to be kept or propped open. If you are uncertain of the rules and regulations within your particular city, please speak with a door-expert who can advise you properly. It’s important to ensure that you are not only keeping your tenants and visitors safe, but that you are adhering to city bylaws and building codes as well.