When Are Smoke Curtains Required?

Smoke curtains are a great way to help prevent excess smoke damage to your building during a fire. They can help stop or slow the spread of smoke throughout a building or direct it to vents to be funneled outside.

In recent years, advancements in technology have revolutionized the way we approach fire and smoke safety. Scientists and engineers have collaborated to develop innovative measures to combat the threats posed by fires, resulting in a significant reduction in the damage caused by fires.

For those living in areas prone to wildfires, such as California, the devastating effects of fire and smoke are well-known. In 2018, California experienced its worst-ever wildfire season, resulting in over $3.5 billion in property damage and numerous fatalities.

As a result of the advancements in technology, there has been a surge in sales of both active and passive fire solutions, including preventive measures such as smoke alarms, sprinkler systems, and fire doors. Smoke curtains are another highly effective measure that can be deployed to contain the spread of smoke during a fire.

Smoke Curtains: Why They Were Invented

When constructing or modifying a premise, fire safety measures must be put in place to prevent the spread of fire and ensure that fixtures and mechanisms are reliable. Smoke curtains are useful in minimizing the damaging effects of fire and smoke, but their deployment must be considered carefully.

Smoke curtains are highly versatile and can be used in various locations such as elevators, warehouses, labs, and auditoriums. However, it's important to note that each jurisdiction has its own legal and statutory guidelines for their use.

The specific requirements for using smoke curtains depend on the state or country in which they are installed. To comply with fire safety legislation, smoke curtain barriers must be protected from short circuits or total power failure. This is typically achieved through an electromechanical fail-safe system, such as a backup generator.

Smoke Curtains, Fire Curtains & Hybrid Curtains

or contain smoke in order to prevent it from spreading into hazardous areas, while fire curtains serve as a barrier to prevent the spread of fire from one space to another, such as a lift door or escape route.

The fire resistance of a smoke curtain is determined by its UL rating, with UL1784 being the standard for most smoke curtains and offering temperature resistance up to 400°F. Fire curtains with a UL 10D rating offer up to two-hour fire resistance and can withstand temperatures up to 1,850°F.

Hybrid curtains combine the benefits of both smoke curtains and fire curtains, making them an ideal solution for comprehensive safety if your budget allows for it.

Types of Smoke Curtains

Smoke curtains can be classified into two main categories: vertical curtains and horizontal curtains. The deployment of a smoke curtain is determined by the structure they are designed to protect. The three essential types of smoke curtains are:

  1. Elevator Curtains: These curtains provide protection from smoke in elevator shafts. They are easy to install and integrate with existing fire protection systems. They descend from above the elevator's opening and prevent smoke from entering the elevator shaft.
  2. Perimeter Curtains: These curtains provide complete coverage of a designated area and protect it from smoke contamination. They can be installed in a box-like or multi-faceted, open-ended configuration. Perimeter curtains require an unobstructed ceiling but do not need corner posts for installation.
  3. Draft Curtains: These curtains are best suited for protecting large spaces such as warehouses, aircraft hangars, and manufacturing units from smoke hazards. They are installed in the upper parts of a building and channelize the ceiling air away from the fire and out of the building via roof vents. Draft curtains are deployable in both sprinkler and non-sprinkler buildings for automatic smoke removal.

Final Word

Regular servicing and maintenance of smoke curtains are crucial to ensure the safety of occupants in the event of a fire. It is recommended to inspect smoke curtains every six months and test them with the fire alarm system annually. Most manufacturers and installers of fire and smoke curtains provide service and maintenance packages. By implementing smoke curtains and regularly maintaining them, you can enhance the safety of your property and its occupants.

To prioritize the safety of your property and its occupants in the event of an uncontrolled fire, consider the installation of smoke curtains. However, it is also important to pay attention to the quality of your smoke curtains as it can make a significant difference. Call SG Solutions today to speak with an expert.