By Dan Arce

Why do we have to have our fire doors inspected?

Because it is part of the Fire Prevention Codes and is a requirement of AHCA, CMS, TJC, and the LAW

Isn’t checking fire doors included in the Annual Fire Prevention Inspection by the Fire Department?

It was in the past before the Fire Prevention Code was changed, making Annual Inspections the responsibility of the building operators.

That doesn’t seem fair. Aren’t fire inspections (including doors) why we pay our taxes and assessments for Fire Protection? Why should the burden of fire door inspections and maintenance be on us?

It has always been the obligation of the people responsible for the operation of the building to maintain the building’s fire, smoke and egress doors in code compliant working order.

Why was it changed to call for mandatory Annual Fire Door Inspections?

The importance of code-compliant fire, smoke and egress doors to protect the public has become very apparent. There also was a problem in that  Building Operators were not maintaining their “life-safety” doors.

Why has inspecting “life-safety” doors become a problem to fire departments?

Fire Prevention Inspections by local Fire Departments have to cover so many different fire protection elements. The number of fire doors, in some facilities (thousands of doors are not uncommon), make inspecting every door virtually impossible.

What does AHJ stand for?

AHJ stands for the Authority Having Jurisdiction – it can be a  Fire Marshal or  ACHA,  CMS, TJC, Surveyor,  etc. It is anyone who has the right to enforce the fire code on your facility.

Why are they making such a big deal over the fire doors? Ours have been here for more than 30 years with no problems. Why now?

In the life of the building, it only takes one fire door to fail to do its job. It would be best to have ALL your fire, smoke and egress doors working. If even one doesn’t perform its function, people may die or get injured, or property is unnecessarily damaged because the fire doors failed to do their job and didn’t confine the fire or smoke to the starting area, and it spreads. A minor fire that a closed door could easily contain could turn into an inferno. It’s better to be “safe than sorry.”

Have Annual Inspections proven their value?

Very much so. Investigations of building fires – especially over the years in high rise structures, show that noncompliance with fire safety doors is a major contributing factor in the loss of lives and property.

What does it take to be an Inspector? Can we inspect our doors?

Yes, keep in mind the AHJ and the Fire and Life Safety Codes require Inspectors to know about the construction of fire, smoke and egress doors. Inspectors must be familiar with fire-rated door hardware, Fire Code requirements, materials, installation, locking, and latching capabilities. They also must be capable of compiling the ITM report.

Who is responsible for inspecting the building’s fire doors?

Owners, property managers, Association board members, etc. Anyone, if they are responsible for operating or managing a building.

How much does the inspection cost?

To determine the exact cost, National FireDoor (NFD) would meet and discuss your service needs. Next, NFD would survey your property and build a complete “Door Schedule,” – which includes a count of every fire, smoke and egress door. Following this survey, you would be given a proposal.

What can the AHJs do to us?

These Authorities can levy fines, bring charges in court, and in some severe cases, order Suspension of Operations. Insurance companies can raise premiums, deny claims, or refuse coverage. State, city, or civil lawyers can charge or sue the responsible parties for neglect because they didn’t follow the fire code. This can be very costly. If there is NO ITM book, it sets the stage for the legal action.

What is included in a Full Service Inspection package from National FireDoor?

A full-service package includes a complete survey of all of the Facility’s fire, smoke and egress doors; ALL doors are ID (QR – barcoded) with a label, and the preparation of the ITM report and individual door inspections is commenced.

  • All fire doors in the Facility are “professionally” inspected.
  • Each door’s inspection results are compiled in the database for inclusion in the final ITM report.
  • If desired, supervision of any repairs and replacements resulting from the inspections to bring each door up to full compliance.
  • If some doors have unreadable “painted over” manufacturer’s labels that have been inspected and are considered compliant, they can be field relabeled.
  • Delivery of the ITM report to the client, either in printed or data format.

NFD can ensure your buildings conform to the inspection requirements for your facility. For a no-obligation consultation, contact NFD at (305) 233-1477 or We can make your buildings compliant now and in the future.