Fire door signage regulations

Written by heather lacey
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Fire door signage regulations
Signage helps the public identify fire doors. (fire door image by Rosemary Robenn from

Fire doors act as barriers to the spread of gases, smoke and heat during a fire. These doors are designed to be self-closing and seal securely to maintain their barrier purpose. Fire doors are generally found at exits and near stairwells, and they are labelled accordingly.

Keep Closed

Since fire doors should remain closed in case of fire, they commonly have signs that read "Fire Door: Keep Closed." Although fire doors are self-closing, this sign is important for maintaining the fire barrier according to the National Fire Protection Agency's Life Safety Code regulations. The purpose of this sign is to remind employees, residents or visitors not to prop the door open for convenience because it will cause a break in the door's ability to control fire. OSHA mandates that fire exits that are used for other purposes must have a locking mechanism that engages when the fire alarm is sounded.

Do Not Obstruct

Fire exit doors have a sign that reads, "Do Not Obstruct." This sign warns the public not to store items in front of or otherwise block the door because it is an emergency exit. Blocking the door would impede escape from people in the building as well as create difficulty for firefighters attempting to enter through the door. This sign should be placed on both sides of the door. The National Fire Protection Agency also mandates that signs do not obstruct or otherwise interfere with operation of the door.

Exit Signage

Some fire doors are only meant to be used as exits during a fire, and when the door is opened it engages the fire alarm. Signage that states "Fire Exit; Alarm Will Sound When Door is Opened" is required on fire doors. Luminescent exit signs must be placed on the lower 16 inches of the door, according to the National Fire Protection Agency. This signage not only reminds people not to use the door for non-emergency situations, but it affirms that use of this door during an emergency will alert others in the building of a fire.

Fire Rating Label

The side of a fire door must be marked with a label from a testing facility, such as Underwriters' Laboratories (UL). This label indicates the materials that the door is constructed from and the temperature that the door materials can withstand. The label also provides the door's fire rating, which is certified by the testing facility.

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