Adam Bannister

Editor, IFSEC Global

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Adam Bannister is editor of IFSEC Global. A former managing editor at Dynamis Online Media Group, he has been at the helm of the UK's leading fire and security publication since 2014.
August 14, 2014

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Star Trek sliding doors and other terrible fire doors

An alarming number of fire doors are poorly fitted or have gaps around the perimeter, inadequate sealant and a host of other shortcomings (such as these Dodgy fire doors).

The following door types (the definition of which, I must confess, I’m stretching in a couple of instances) would also fail to meet regulatory requirements, which make doors effective at preventing the egress of smoke through their perimeter and make evacuation as easy as possible.

Star Trek Sliding doors

As the Star Trek bloopers reel below proves, if fire cuts the electricity supply powering the doors – or, indeed, the studio runners opening them with pulleys and levers aren’t at their post – then evacuation becomes difficult. And let’s face it, evacuation in outer space is pretty tricky to start with.

Old Western swinging saloon wooden doorsSaloon doors

They may be a great way to make a grand entrance – especially with unhurried menace in Cuban-heeled cowboy boots – but they’re no way to make an orderly exit in case of fire. Just think of those doors swinging back into people’s noggin as people queue to leave the building.

And as for preventing the spread of smoke – useless!

Door from the Shining (post-axe)

If your fire doors do have a hole in them thanks to some axe-wielding maniac, then they’re no longer compliant with fire door regulations. So now you know.

Lavalamp and beaded curtainsBeaded curtains

OK, so not technically a door – and yet, people do use them to delineate rooms and form a passable barrier.

No barrier at all when it comes to smoke, which is ironic given their association with a counterculture that is also heavily associated with smoke of the most pungent kind.

However, such beads partially redeem themselves for ease-of-exit.

Doors of perception

“And along with indifference to space, there was an even more complete indifference to time. “There seems to be plenty of it”, was all I would answer when the investigator asked me to say what I felt about time. Plenty of it, but exactly how much was entirely irrelevant. I could, of course, have looked at my watch but my watch I knew was in another universe. My actual experience had been, was still, of an indefinite duration. Or alternatively, of a perpetual present made up of one continually changing apocalypse.” 

So wrote Aldous Huxley of his psychedelic experience in his philosophical treatise The Doors of Perception, from which Jim Morrison’s band took its name.
Staircase leading to heaven or hell. Light at the End of the Tun
Use doors of perception as fire doors (stay with me) and opening them as Huxley did might actually delay, rather than hasten, evacuation in the event of fire. If one is untethered from the very notion of time as a linear concept, then the urgency of evacuation might fail to register…

Conceptual doors, no matter what their nature, can never serve as adequate fire doors. I’ve probably never written a less useful sentence.

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4 Comments on "Star Trek sliding doors and other terrible fire doors"

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Saul Sherry

How would Alice’s rabbit hole fare?

Adam Bannister

Saul Sherry Hmmm. If the hole is the only way out from the residence I’d hazard that it’s contravening fire regulations. If Alice is the Responsible Person under the Fire Safety Order then she could be prosecuted.


How about Jim Morrison? Despite being part ‘Doors’, he was always asking you to ‘Light his fire’ ..

Adam Bannister

FIREX_JAMES Boom boom. Indeed James!