Are Fire-Rated Elevator Doors Standard?
The flames and smoke of a fire can be dangerous in any environment, but elevators and the shafts that they operate in can add additional complications. As the elevator shaft is essentially one long, open area that’s exposed to each floor of a building, it can provide a conduit for fire and smoke to travel between floors. That’s why fire-rated elevator doors are mandatory in a commercial setting. The level of fire rating will vary between different jurisdictions, but fire-rating is a requirement.
Many elevators also use a safety system in the event that a heat or smoke sensor is set off. When this happens, the elevator will descend to the ground floor (or the lowest floor where a sensor hasn’t been triggered) and open its doors to let out anyone inside. Once this is done, the elevator will cease to operate.
Are Pneumatic Elevators Fire-Rated?
In a residential setting, fire-rated doors for elevators are not mandatory, but that doesn’t mean that precautions aren’t taken. For example, there are pneumatic elevators fire-rated to resist heat upwards of 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, some building codes mandate that an elevator’s hoistway be constructed using fire-resistant materials. In general, though, fire safety codes are more relaxed for residential structures than they are for commercial buildings.