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Specifiers guide for fire curtains

There are many factors to consider when specifying a fire curtain for property and personnel protection. The building fire strategy report should be the first and most important element to review, as this will detail how the entire emergency procedures and safety devices will work together in the event of fire and evacuation.

Once you have reviewed this document you should consider the following when specifying fire curtains:

• compartmental time requirement
• main escape route requirement
• performance requirement of fabric, i.e. Heat integrity, smoke leakage and irradiance/insulation.

How they work

Fire curtains are generally designed and tested to protect escape routes and/or compartment fire or smoke. They do not provide any level of security; fire shutters should be used if this is required.

Fire curtains and shutters are normally wired into their independent, programmable interface panels, to automatically operate when the mains alarm is activated. A fiberglass curtain is closed by a combination of gravity and power to guarantee closure, referred to as gfs (gravity fail safe).

Fire curtains are held in the open position on a day to day basis, to close in the event of a fire with a pre-programmed closing protocol, referred to as delayed drop, split drop or immediate full closure.

The surrounding structure must match the specified fire/smoke product to maintain integrity. All fire and smoke products require regular testing and maintenance under UK law.

Testing & classifications

When curtain products are subjected to fire tests, conducted by industry experts such as Warrington Exova, the fire test results are categorised in regards to performance, thus allowing the individual fire curtain to be specified for the intended performance requirement of the fire strategy report:

E = Fire integrity – the curtains ability to stop the spread of fire, tested up to 1000 degrees and results measured in minutes.

W = Radiation performance – the transference of heat generated by the fire and radiated to the non-fire side, measured from 1000mm and should not exceed 15kw, results measured in minutes.

I = Thermal insulation – the heat absorbed by the curtain, allowing the non-fire side to be touched without burning, measured from 50mm of the non-fire side face and should not exceed 180 degrees, results measured in minutes.

Additional accessories

Split drop

A split drop is an operational protocol that allows the activated fire curtain to descend partially, forming a smoke barrier and allowing the egress of personnel, followed by full closure.

Emergency retract button

For emergency escape, should personnel find themselves on the trap side following full closure of the fire curtain.

Audio/visual beacons

An audible & visual warning device(s) can be activated prior to the deployment of the fire product.

Safety window

Safety window for emergency services to check evacuation can improve safety levels.

If you’d like more information about fire curtains and shutters, please get in touch with the HAG team by calling us on 0800 072 3444 or you can fill in our contact form and we will get back to you.

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HAG offers a wide range of products and services, if you would like further information call 0800 072 3444 now to speak to a member of our team.

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