Thursday, July 8, 2010

NFPA 80: Standard for Fire Doors and Protective Openings

Does this apply to your theatre?  If you have Fire Doors and/or Fire Curtains, then it most definitely applies if your locality has adopted this Fire Code.  This standard describes all of the requirements for testing and maintaining these critical fire and smoke containment elements.

How many times have you found stage doors physically propped-open with stage weights, chairs, desks, road cases, speakers, flag poles, kick-down door stops, rolled-up carpets, duct/gaffers tape, rope, or some other object?  This is clearly defined as a violation of the Fire Code and you should be able to instruct your staff as to why this is illegal and dangerous.

Do you know that Fire Doors and Fire Curtains must be inspected annually?  When was the last time yours were inspected?  What are you looking for when you do the inspection?  Which doors count as Fire Doors?  Overhead, hinged, sliding?  How fast (or slow) must the Fire Curtain close?  How often do they need to be tested?  What markings and signage are required?

Although the standard does not cover all of the aspects of Fire Doors and Fire Curtains - it does place most of the pertinent information in one location.  Like many things that the NFPA regulations cover, sometimes the answers are scattered across several different standards:
  • The routes that lead to the Fire Exits are discussed in NFPA 101: Life Safety Code.
  • The EXIT signs are addressed in NFPA 70: National Electric Code.
  • The Smoke Vents over the stage that work in conjunction with the Fire Curtain and Fire Doors are addressed in NFPA 204: Standards for Smoke and Heat Venting
  • The Fire Detection and Alarm System that may release electrically held Fire Doors, Fire Curtains, Smoke Vents, and Duct Shutters is addressed in NFPA 72: National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code
  • The smoke suppression system in the air ducts are defined under NFPA 90A: Standard for the Installation of Air-Conditioning and Ventilating Systems
Other related Codes:
  • Portable Fire Extinguishers are regulated by NFPA 10: Standard for Portable Fire Extinguishers
  • The Fire Sprinkler System is defined by NFPA 13
  • The Standpipe and Fire Hose requirements are in NFPA 14
The NFPA ( publishes the standards and the books that discuss them, and they also present webinars to further educate people that have to understand and know how these items work. They have an upcoming webinar regarding NFPA 80 that you can sign-up for here:

You can subscribe to e-mail notices from the NFPA at:

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