Virtually all cities and states have fire codes for both residential and commercial buildings that require either fire doors or smoke doors of some kind. It helps protect your business, your product/equipment, your employees, and any neighboring businesses. It’s a seriously ancient practice for cities to be concerned about fires breaking out. Rome burned down a couple times, and they even had a city-wide firefighting service!
Depending on the application, your fire door needs to meet certain benchmarks, some of which depend on your city and your building, and some of which depend on what kind of business you are.
- How long is it going to take to get everyone out of the building if there should be a fire?
- How dangerous, chemically, is the inventory in your facility?
- How big is your commercial garage?
- How many people need to evacuate and what is their ability to be moved quickly? (Think about medical facilities.)
These are all factors that can affect the type of fire door you need. There are 30-minute doors, 60-minute doors, internal fire doors, external fire doors, and many others. There’s also commercial door hardware made specifically for fire resistance. So – short answer – all businesses need fire doors of some kind, especially when we’re talking about California.
Are There Other Pros to These Things Besides Fire Safety?
Fire doors are meant to contain an initial fire. If they’re fitted and hung correctly, they not only take the brunt of the fire and smoke, but they slowly choke the fire by limiting available oxygen. This is especially true if a fire begins inside a room in the building. Ideally, an interior fire can be contained within the confines of the closest fire-secure doors.
Speaking of secure, these fire doors are by nature also security doors. Interior or exterior, these doors are heavy-duty, super-strong, and can take a real beating. They’re also insulated doors, too. So not only do they protect your business and employees from a fire, but they provide safety from break-ins, and they can boost your facility’s energy efficiency.
Something else to consider if your fire door is an overhead door is the opener system. Every overhead door needs a battery backup for their automatic opener for several convenience and security reasons. But now, outfitting an overhead door with a battery backup for its opener is compulsory under California law because of wildfires. It’s not a bad idea to consider battery backups for any of your business’ doors, whether interior, sliding glass entry doors, or automated gates. In case of emergency, you never know when it could make the difference.
In case of a fire, whether it’s inside or outside the facility, you want easy egress. And if the power’s out, you’re stuck lifting that heavy overhead door manually. Sometimes that’s just not possible. So make sure you beef up your fire-rated security overhead door with an emergency battery backup for the opener. It’s a small but potentially life-saving detail.
Maintenancing Your Fire Security Doors
Fire and smoke doors are extremely important to maintenance, and it’s not just something you should do – it’s required by law. Usually, you need them inspected annually, and all fire doors are clearly labeled with their specs and when they were last serviced – just like you’d see on a fire extinguisher or inside an elevator. As technology improves, upgrading your commercial door hardware and replacing your fire-secure doors and smoke gaskets is an investment in the long-term safety of your business and all those inside it.
Fire doors are important for the safety of your business, inventory, customers and employees. Speak to a professional about your choices, your facility needs, and your local codes and guidelines for fire safety. Sac’s Door & Gate knows the Sacramento area and its wide array of commercial businesses, and we’re always ready to give advice or consultations for any business owner.