What Is the Difference Between a Fire Door and a Normal Door?

Fire doors are a critical component of any building or work premises providing a safe exit for residents, the public, or staff members in an event of an evacuation.

Having adequate knowledge and understanding of the fire doors is a complex subject for anyone including business owners, self-builders, or anyone responsible for fire safety within the work premises.

This blog post will be a thorough guide on the key differences between fire doors and normal doors within any work environment, along with the legislation that revolves around fire safety.

Fire-related incidents & the Law

Fire safety is one of the cornerstones of health and safety and is among the most devastating accidents that could occur at any place. It could result in heavy losses in terms of life, property damage, injuries, or damages.

A recent report as of 2021 by the UK government showed:

  • Fire & rescue services attended 555,358 incidents with an increase of 5% from the last year
  • Of those incidents, 147,295, were fires
  • 280 fire-related fatalities were reported
  • Of all the incidents attended, 27% were fire hazards, 40% were fire alarms & 33% were non-fire incidents

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 states that all emergency routes and exits must lead as directly as possible to a place of safety. It is under this law, that business owners have a legal duty to:

  • Ensure the safety of every employee within their work premises where fire occurs
  • Undertake adequate fire risk assessments within the workplace
  • Recognize risk assessment findings & details of anyone who is at risk during a fire incident
  • Provide adequate training and precautionary measures to help staff mitigate fire risks within the work environment

What is a Fire Door?

A fire door is a type of door designed to prevent the spread of fire within the building, workplace or organization. It acts as a physical barrier against the fire. Therefore, fire doors have to be very strong, fire-resistant and properly functional to save businesses from severe hazards. And so, they are made up of fire-resistant metals to last long.

Difference Between Fire Doors & Fire Exits

Employers, business owners and their staff need to have adequately functional fire safety doors within their work premises and therefore, they must know the key differences between fire doors and normal doors.

Let us have a look at some of them:

Fire Doors & Fire Exit Doors

Fire doors are internally fitted and are designed to act as a barrier to fire and smoke between separate compartments to enable safe escape for the people within the building. A fire exit door on the other hand serves as the final opening to the outside of the building.

Major Differences

Some of the key differences based on their characteristics/properties are:

1.   Purpose

The key function of a fire exit door is to provide a quick escape in the event of a fire. On the contrary, a fire door’s key purpose is to avert or slow down the fire. For this reason, fire exit doors are fitted with fire door closers and locks to keep them securely shut whilst also enabling fast exit in the event of a fire.

2.   Location

Another key difference between fire exit doors and fire doors is where they are located within a building. Due to their different functionalities, they are located in different places. A fire exit door typically can be found outside or exterior of a building to make the escape easy in case of emergency. While a fire door is located internally to slow down the spread of fire.

3.   Regulations

Fire doors and fire exit doors both must comply with legal requirements including their installation and maintenance. Responsible persons need to ensure that they are keeping up with the current fire safety regulations to prevent their business from any kind of loss.

4.   Signage

Another major difference between the two is the signposts. Fire exit doors are usually indicated with a green sign which is considered an indication to go/exit in an event of a fire or other emergency.

While fire doors are usually indicated with blue signage placed on both sides of the door. The blue color gives a positive instruction to tell people to keep the door closed.

5.   Maintenance

When talking about maintenance, both fire doors and fire exit doors must be inspected and maintained regularly to ensure that they are in proper working order in case of any fire emergency

Fire Door Inspection Training

Being an employer or a business owner, it is significantly important for you to adequately educate and train your staff on fire door inspection to act competently in case of emergency.

For this purpose, there are tons of fire door inspection training courses available out there to choose from. Just pick the right one according to your organizational needs so the fire hazards can be controlled and prevented easily.


This content piece is a thorough guide on the key differences between fire doors and fire exit doors. Both have different functions and purposes but are an integral component of any workplace or organization.

Understanding the major differences between them is important to fulfill the legal requirements, comply with the law and protect the safety and health of staff or anyone part of the workplace.