Understanding Fire Doors and Emergency Exits

We can’t think of any more important type of personnel ‘pedestrian’ doors in any building than these two types: Fire Doors (fire-resisting doorsets) and Emergency Exits (doors on escape routes). The latter are sometimes loosely termed as Fire Exits, or simply FX doors, which can give rise to confusion between the two.

Both of these door types are critical to life safety in buildings and as such, are subject to a number of legal instruments including The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (FSO), as amended by the Fire Safety Act 2021 and subsequent Regulations.

As installers and fitters of custom-made, steel fire-resistant door/fire-rated doors – and also of emergency exit doors, we are aware of the need to differentiate between these two door types. In this blog, we point out some important facts and differences, which we hope will clarify a few questions that you might have as a person responsible for doors relating to building safety.

Please note that if you are a Responsible Person (RP) or Duty-Holder as defined by the Fire Safety Act 2021, you will need to take specialist advice and/or training. Such advice is beyond the scope of this generalised blog, although we may be able to signpost you to further help on request.

In a nutshell…

FIRE DOORS (Fire-resisting doorsets) are, above all else, for slowing down the spread of heat and flame.

EMERGENCY EXIT DOORS are a means of providing an easy and safe exit for evacuation in any emergency.

Any other door attributes, such as security ratings etc. come as an add-on to the above

Now that we’ve made this distinction, we can say that it is true that these two requirements can both be met in one doorset. Milsteel Doors can supply and install metal doors that are both fire-rated to BS EN 1634-1 (fire-rating) and fitted with emergency escape hardware, making them in line with BS EN 179 or BS EN 1125 (emergency and panic hardware).

A Few Facts About Fire Doors

A Few Facts About Emergency Exits (Escape Doors)

In conclusion, not all fire doors are suitable for emergency exits, and most emergency exit doors are not fire-rated. If they meet the legal requirements for both, this will be stated on the manufacturer’s DoP (Declaration of Performance). Either type of door can be upgraded to meet other standards such as smoke-permeability or security, so long as it can be shown not to jeopardise its main purpose; of emergency escape ease or fire-resisting performance.

Further information is publically available in Approved Document B of the Building Regulations.

To discuss your Fire Door or Emergency Exit Door needs, contact Milsteel, the specialists in custom fire-rated steel doors.

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Thank you for your interest in having Milsteel provide your steel door solution. Please fill out the details below and we will be in touch with your quotation as soon as we can!