Fire Door Drop Tests are a Matter of Life and Death

Most people depend on several different types of insurance to protect them from a possible disaster, from life and health to automobile and homeowners. If you own a business, one of the most important steps you can take to ensure the viability of your company is to be certain your fire door is in tiptop working condition and able to do its job in an emergency.

“A fire door is part of the life/safety plan of your building. It’s your livelihood. It’s your protection for your business. You could lose everything if not adequately protected during a fire,” says Walter Pilipey, lead commercial service technician at Overhead Door Company of Denver.

Pilipey points out that a fire door, made of steel, is designed to keep flames and smoke from spreading from one part of a structure to another, which is especially important if you are storing items such as flammable liquids in your building. He says, by code, fire doors must be tested annually to make sure they are in working condition.

“If the door is not properly reset it will not be functional in an emergency,” says Pilipey. “A drop test is designed to make sure everything is working properly.”

Overhead Door of Denver is licensed to test fire doors. Once the test is completed and the door opens and closes to the manufacturer’s standards, the business owner is given a certificate that shows that the door has been inspected.

Pilipey cites three methods that are used to close a door if a fire is detected:

  1. A Fusible Link
    This consists of two pieces of metal soldered together with a fusible alloy that allows the door to function as a daily use door until the temperature reaches 165 degrees.  Once that temperature is reached, the solder melts and the door closes at a controlled rate, sealing the passageway.
  1. A Smoke Detector
    This is an electric device that detects smoke or flames, and automatically closes the door if either is present, keeping the fire from moving to the other side of the door for up to three hours.

    “The Fire Department will be there before then to put out the fire,” Pilipey says.
  1. A Sentinel
    Pilipey points out that the fire door can be connected to a central fire control box. If there is a fire anywhere in the building, the box sends a signal to close the door.

Pilipey says he can test a fire door without starting a fire or melting the fusible link. For example, with doors that are connected to a release box, he can simply push a test button to see if the door is working properly. If there is no release box, he might be able to disable a fusible link that is holding the door open and close it mechanically.

According to Pilipey, fire doors are designed to be normally open, allowing employees to move items easily from one part of the building to another. Fire doors can be used for security purposes as well, he adds.

Are you concerned about whether the fire doors that help protect your business from disaster are working properly? Let the experts at Overhead Door Company of Denver test your fire doors and make certain they function properly and are able to do their job well. For more information, call 303-366-4300.