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Use a Fire Door Survey Checklist to Keep Your Facility Safe

Ensures that each fire door in your facility does its work. Properly maintained fire doors are critical for the safety of your employees and property.

What Is a Fire Door Survey Checklist?

A fire door survey checklist makes sure that the fire doors in a facility are maintained in good working order, as defined by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). The specific code is NFPA 80, Standard for Fire Doors and Other Opening Protectives. Depending on your area, the International Building Code (IBC) may apply, too.

What Is the Purpose of a Fire Door?

Fire doors are built to allow people to safely exit the building during a fire, as well as block smoke and flames. They can provide 20, 45, 60, 90, or 180 minutes of fireprotection and come with three door-closing options:

  1. Self-closing – These have a standard closer that swings the door closed when someone goes through. These cannot (or should not) be held open.
  2. Automatic-closing – These are normally open, but close automatically in the event of a fire, either when the closer detects heat or the fire alarm system goes off.
  3. Power-operated – These normally open and close electronically. They must disconnect from the power when the fire alarm system goes off, so they can be operated manually.

The results can be tragic when fire door closing systems go wrong. At worst, they may lock closed, trapping people in a burning building. Or else they may stay open, allowing fire and smoke to spread. Take this case reported by the NFPA. A six-story apartment building in Queens, New York City caught fire around 1:00 PM on the top floor. A fire door didn’t close properly, allowing flames to spread throughout the building. The fire injured 21 people and left 240 people homeless. Damage was so severe that fire marshals couldn’t get in the next day to determine the cause of the fire.

This is why regular fire door inspections are so important. The fire door inspection requirements are written for your protection. Even though it may be difficult or inconvenient at times, it’s vital that inspection, testing, and maintenance (ITM) of fire doors be carried out as dictated by the safety codes.

It may seem easier to wedge a fire door open “just for a little while” while performing certain tasks. But it’s important to remember the possible consequences of those few moments of convenience. It’s also common to store items at the fire door because “we’re going to move them later,” but what happens if there’s a fire and you need to get out?

These violations of the fire door inspection requirements can become bad habits that put you and yours at real risk. It’s also essential that the fire doors latch properly. A fire can create enough pressure to blow open the doors if the latching mechanism is damaged or broken.

This article covers the following topics:

1. What is the 13-point NFPA 80 fire door inspection checklist?

2. How often to fire doors need to be inspected?

3. Why use a digital fire door inspection checklist?

What is the 13-point NFPA 80 fire door inspection checklist?

The NFPA requires the fire doors by inspected with respect to the following 13 guidelines:

    1. Labels are clearly visible and legible.
    2. No open holes or breaks exist in the surface of either the door or frame.
    3. If the door is equipped with glazing, vision light frames, or glazing beads, they must be intact and securely fastened in place.
    4. The door, frame, hinges, hardware, and noncombustible threshold are secured, aligned, and in working order with no visible signs of damage.
    5. No parts are missing or broken.
    6. Door clearances do not exceed clearances listed in NFPA sections 4.8.4 and

They must swing freely but not exceed the following:

    • 3/4 inches under the door, 3/8 inches if the door is more than 38 inches wide
    • 1/8 to 1/6 inches at the top of a steel door or between pairs of doors
    • 1/8 inches clearance for wood doors
  1. The self-closing device is operational. That is, the active door completely closes when operated from the fully open position.
  2. If a coordinator is installed, the inactive leaf of the door closes before the active leaf.
  3. Latching hardware operates and secures the door when it is in the closed position.
  4. Auxiliary hardware items that interfere or prohibit operation are not installed on the door or frame.
  5. No field modifications to the door assembly have been performed that void the label.
  6. Meeting-edge protection, gasketing, and edge seals, where required, are inspected to verify their presence and integrity.
  7. Signage on doors covers less than 5% of door face and is not attached with mechanical fasteners. It must be attached with adhesive and can’t cover the glass.

Every fire door inspection checklist must also contain the following information:

  • Date of the inspection
  • Name of the facility
  • Address of the facility
  • Name of the person(s) performing inspection and testing
  • Company name and address of inspecting company
  • Signature of the inspector of record
  • Individual record of each inspected and tested fire door assembly
  • Opening identifier and location of each inspected and tested fire door assembly
  • Type and description of each inspected and tested fire door assembly
  • Verification of visual inspection and functional operation
  • Listing of deficiencies in accordance with sections NFPA 80 sections 5.2.3, 5.3, and 5.4.

How often do fire doors need to be inspected?

According to the NFPA 80 fire door inspection requirements, fire doors need to be inspected annually by a certified inspector. They need to be inspected when they’re first installed and whenever maintenance work is carried out, too. It also depends on your industry. For instance, NFPA 409 dictates a monthly visual inspection for fire doors in aircraft hangars.

It’s a good idea to perform a monthly visual inspection regardless. After all, the real purpose of a fire door is to keep your people and property protected. A properly-installed fire door can stop a fire in its tracks. A monthly fire door inspection can be done by an employee who knows the fire codes – you don’t need to pay for an inspector.

How Long Do I Need to Keep Fire Door Inspection Checklists?

The person in charge of fire safety should keep every fire door survey checklist, official and unofficial, for at least three years. These may need to be shown to the AHJ (Authorities Having Jurisdiction) for your building. The AHJ are the organizations responsible for maintaining health and safety according to NFPA codes. They include the local fire marshal, labor and health departments, and insurance agencies, as well as other bodies responsible for the safety of the building.


Why use a digital fire door inspection checklist?

Documenting incidents, near misses, and other hazards can be a lot of work. However, good documentation and evaluation go a long way for businesses, fire departments, and the public. Accurate and comprehensive inspections can help fire departments achieve this goal.

Lumiform, a flexible mobile inspection and documentation app gives you a reliable tool to quickly create complete, high-quality fire door inspection requirements in the field. By using the app and desktop software, the following options are available to you:

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