Which do I need - a fire curtain or a fire shutter?

Fire protection is paramount in designing today's work spaces and industrial premises. It's one of the few things that takes precedence even over security.

Of course, many industrial doors and closures can deal with fire safety and security concerns at the same time. But the parallel requirements can lead to some confusion. Should you specify high performance, high security fire shutters throughout? Or would a fire curtain be a better choice in some locations? 

As with many such choices in building design, your best option depends on how the space will be used, and also on your attitude to cost, appearance and practicality.

When you might use a fire curtain

If you have an opening, for sake of example a works canteen, with no access from the outside and no critical equipment behind it, you may find a fire curtain perfectly sufficient.

It's made from stainless steel wire-reinforced glass fabric, with steel guides and housing. It is unobtrusive, easy to operate and will prevent the spread of fire for up to two hours. What it doesn't offer is a physical barrier against intrusion.

When you might use a fire shutter

If you are protecting a quantity of goods or fittings, or have equipment that you need to keep unauthorised people away from, a fire shutter adds physical security to the benefits of a fire curtain. With fire protection of up to 4 hours available, this is an uprated product with a slight tradeoff in terms of the size of the installation.

There is not necessarily a large difference in cost between the two options. In summary, a fire curtain is less obtrusive and offers good fire protection but does not incorporate physical security. If you need a higher level of closure, you'll opt for a fire shutter.

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