When it comes to fire safety in schools, there is a lot to consider, and lots of regulations to adhere to. And with a lot at risk, it can be an understandably daunting task! Here, Ty Aziz, Chief Executive of Sentry Doors – the UK leader in timber fire safety doorsets – shares some of the key considerations when it comes to putting fire doors in place in schools.

Fire doors: the first line of defence

Adherence to fire safety regulations is essential in maintaining a safe environment in schools and to ensuring the well being and protection of students, staff and visitors. Fire doors have a big role to play in this, as they form a crucial part of a building’s passive fire system. They help to slow down the spread of fire and smoke as well as creating “fire sterile’ areas, giving staff and students time and safe pathways to exit the building in an emergency.

So, if you are responsible for a school’s fire strategy, you will need to ensure that you have the right types of fire doors in the right places. And once the fire doors are installed, you also need to make sure they are regularly checked and maintained, with any defects recorded and resolved.

Where needs a fire door?

In schools, guidance says that specialised fire doors need to be installed in the following areas:

  • Stairways: to help to ensure safe passage from the upper levels of the building.
  • Long corridors: to help prevent the spread of fire and smoke through extended spaces, often with self-closing fire doors.
  • Rooms of higher risk: for example, science labs, boiler rooms and kitchens. These rooms require higher rated fire doors such as FD60 or above.

What types of fire door are there?

Fire doors are classified by the amount of fire and smoke protection they offer – for example, an ‘FD30’ would offer up to 30 minutes fire protection, whilst an ‘FD60S’ would offer up to 60 minutes of fire and smoke protection. We can work with your contractors to ensure the right specification door in each required location.

Most importantly, you need to make sure you choose a reputable manufacturer so that you know your fire doors are compliant with the relevant regulations and that they really have been made to do what they say they will. At Sentry, our doors are IFC certified, demonstrating that they are manufactured to, and compliant with, all the latest fire legislation and we test our doors through the world’s leading provider of third-party certification.

As well as the essential technical and safety compliance elements, our fire doors are available in a wide range of styles and colour finishes with various glazing, handle, hinge, lock and closer options so that you can ensure the look you want, as well as the safety of your staff and students.

We also often provide doors to the education sector with additional practical features such as anti-trap finger protection and anti-bacterial coatings as well as frame edge protection for heavy use areas and acoustic technology to help with sound reduction.

Doors in action

We recently supplied Gateville Group, a contractor carrying out a fire door replacement project at a school in London. They were replacing a collection of old corridor and classroom entrance doors with bespoke, fully certified doorsets – which all needed to be manufactured and delivered within 4 weeks, so they could be installed during the Easter holidays and in place before students and staff returned.

The doorsets we made for this project were very bespoke. We manufactured 41 FD30S doorsets in total, with various combinations of single glazed or flushed doorsets with mouldings and double doorsets with sidelights and fanlights – all modified to the clients requirements and a specific colour match.

Elian Kovacs, Assistant Contracts Manager at Gateville Group, said: “I was very impressed with how flexible Sentry were for this project and that they were able to accommodate our requirements and timeframes and work with us to manufacture a product that was in line with our client’s requests.”

Ask the experts

Whether you need 40 fire doors or 400, we can help you plan and specify your fully compliant fire door project, and deliver them in time to be fitted during shut down over the summer holidays.

Read our full online guide to fire safety standards and regulations in schools at www.sentrydoors.co.uk/schools or drop us an email at enquiries@sentrydoors.co.uk to discuss your fire door requirements.

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