While many people only think about church on Sundays, your church building might be bustling with activity every day of the week. From community meetings to bible studies to weddings and funerals, the number of people in your church can vary widely at any given time. Sometimes, the building is packed, while other days, there might only be one or two people inside.
In order to protect all of these people in the case of fire, it’s important that you install the right fire-rated doors in your church. According to the National Fire Protection Agency, religious buildings suffered an average of 1,780 fires per year. While candles are responsible for some of those fires, the vast majority originate in cooking areas—where many different people gather throughout the week.
The right fire-rated doors can go a long way in limiting the damage caused by a fire, especially when they are used in conjunction with other fire safety equipment, like sprinklers.
In this post, we’ll look at how fire-rated doors work and why they play such an important role in your church’s fire safety plan.
What Is a Fire-Rated Door?
Fire-rated doors have been tested by an independent group, like the Underwriter Laboratories (UL), to determine how long the assembly can withstand fire conditions, including heat and smoke. Fire-rated doors can be made from wood -- with fire ratings up to 90 minutes -- or metal, which can have ratings up to 3 hours.
All parts of the door are rated separately, including door frames, windows, louvers, and locksets. The overall fire rating of your door will be determined by the part with the lowest rating. When you’re purchasing a fire-rated door, make sure to pay attention to the fire rating of all of the door’s elements to fully understand your assembly.
Fire doors are actually an excellent value. They insulate better than other doors, they resist vandalism, and they tend to last much longer than non-fire-rated doors, providing valuable protection for your church building.
Incorporating Fire Doors into Your Fire Safety Plan
The main safety feature of fire-rated doors is that they prevent fires from spreading unchecked between the various parts of your church building. These doors are meant to control more than just flames, however.
Fires produce lots of smoke and other toxic vapors. These fumes are responsible for the majority of fire deaths. When they are properly installed, fire-rated doors keep flames, heat, and smoke at bay. They are designed to protect a space long enough for the fire department to arrive and attempt to put the fire out.
When you’re installing fire-rated doors, you should start with your local and state safety regulations. Many municipalities have strict requirements when it comes to fire safety, and fire-rated doors are usually a significant part of those regulations. They’ll give you minimum ratings for different areas and structures, which will protect your building and help you to avoid costly fines.
These regulations often specify the length of time that you need to be able to keep a fire at bay, but they will also spell out other requirements. You’ll likely need illuminated exit signs pointing the way to fire exits, too. Most fire doors are required to close automatically and to have easily operated exit devices.
Fire-rated door installation is just as important as the rating on the door itself. If your new door is incorrectly installed, it could compromise the fire rating, allowing fire and smoke damage to bypass the door quickly.
Common problems include:
- Gaps between the door and the frame
- Improper or non-rated hinges and hardware
- Missing or poorly installed seals
- Ineffective door closers
Proper installation can go a long way toward protecting the congregation, staff members, and guests of your church in the event of a fire.
Your Home for Fire-Rated Doors
CDF Distributors carries a wide selection of wood and metal fire-rated doors that are designed to perfectly suit churches, warehouses, and commercial buildings. You can even customize doors in accordance with your needs. We offer a number of different styles and finishes, along with glass and louver kits. If you want more information on purchasing fire-rated doors for your church, contact CDF Distributors today!