What are Fire Curtains?

The role of passive fire protection in a building’s safety plan is significant. The purpose of passive fire protection is to limit the spread of fire, to protect the health and safety of occupants, and to preserve the structural integrity of the building itself. One of the key components that make up any effective passive fire protection strategy is fire curtains.

Fire curtains utilise a flexible fibre so that it can be installed in more difficult to reach areas such as ceiling voids and lofts, to help strengthen the weak spots of a building in the event of a fire. At Ark Fire protection, we provide installation and maintenance services of fire curtains so that, as a building owner, you know that you’re doing everything you can to protect your occupants.


What is the Purpose of Fire Curtains?


Fire-resistant barriers, such as fire curtains, are used to compartmentalise areas within a building. When it comes to the compartmentation of rooms in large commercial areas, there are several problems. With the increase of popularity for open-plan layouts, using fire doors has gotten more difficult – owing to the absence of walls. In instances like this, fire curtains can be used in place of fire doors.


A fire curtain is a highly robust piece of fire-resistant material that is stored discreetly in a steel headbox above a ceiling, lobby, or doorway. The curtain is released by a trigger from a fire alarm or local detector to fall vertically and obscure the area, entrance, or lift shaft above which it is located in the event of a fire. The role of a fire curtain is critical for the prevention of flames spreading laterally or vertically, functioning as a physical barrier between the fire and the escape routes used by occupants in an evacuation.


Where Can Fire Curtains be Installed?


Fire curtains, when part of a building’s safety plan, can be and generally are positioned in multiple places throughout the structure. They can be used to replace non-load-bearing walls and fire-rated glazing, allowing for open plan designs that adhere to fire requirements. Similarly, vertical curtains can be used to keep smoke and flames from spreading through the shafts of elevators and lobbies.


Fire Curtain Compliance and Specification


BS 8524 is an important standard within the fire curtain industry. It provides direction on the specification and installation of fire curtains. Only third-party certified fire curtain items that have been assessed by a third party appointed by the manufacturer are considered acceptable under BS 8524 Parts 1 and 2. The assessing body chosen by the manufacturer must be UKAS accredited.


The BS 8524 Standard is intended for specifiers, manufacturers, installers, and facilities managers. Key topics covered include the competent installation and ongoing maintenance of the fire curtain, which must be achieved in order to demonstrate competence and quality. This certification provides assurance to end users and building occupants that the product has been subjected to thorough third-party testing against a set of stringent criteria.


It’s important that your building complies with all current safety standards and regulations so it is always advisable to consult an expert such as Ark Fire Protection when planning any passive fire protection strategies.


Fire Curtain Integrity


Products must now meet higher fire resistance and structural integrity criteria. This has led to a greater emphasis on the quality of each product’s construction. EN BS 1634-1 testing certification is used in the UK for fire curtain and other fire barrier tests. It examines how well a fire curtain maintains its integrity when exposed to fire. The level of integrity shows how resistant a product is to fires.


Ark Fire Protection offers a full range of fire protection services including the supply, installation and maintenance of fire curtains. We utilise industry-leading fire barriers, such as the Rockwool Fire Barrier Slab, which prevent the spread of fire and smoke within hidden roof and ceiling voids. We choose Rockwool products because they are among the best on the market – allowing you to sleep easy knowing that your building is secure, minimising the damage to your property caused by a fire. For more information please get in touch with one of our experts today.

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