Emergency Exits / Fire Escapes may NOT be locked against escape from the inside, though they are usually locked against entry from the outside. They must be able to be opened in dark or smoky conditions by “an aged arthritic pygmy, with no prior knowledge of the premises or the equipment”. This usually means a panic bolt.
FIRE-RATED DOORS: Most doors used for emergency exits and fire escapes are hinged doors and MUST OPEN OUTWARDS.
These doors may be required by regulation to resist fire for a certain length of time, such as 30 minute, 60 minute and 120 minutes. The resistance time required will depend on where the door is situated, the processes or goods stored in the area, designed occupancy (the number of persons who could be in the building) and other risk-related factors. The designed occupancy of a lecture theatre with 120 seats would be 120 persons and would need more fire escape facilities than a classroom with 30 seats.
Final Exit doors (exterior fire escape doors) are often not fire rated, assuming there are no special risk or flammable processes in the area of the door.
The door which separates a factory from an office area is usually fire-rated between 30 and 120 minutes depending on the risk-factors in the factory. The purpose of that door would be to compartmentalise the building to stop the spread of fire between the factory and the office – to quote a common example. The door between a house and the garage is usually rated at 30 minutes.
Fire Doors and door frames can be ordered through The Lockshop made-to-size by Allendal. For Fire Door product information and details of SABS Fire-Ratings, please click on Allandel
For Fire-Door Hardware (also called Panic Hardware, Emergency Exit hardware, Push-Bars) click on Panic Hardware