Fire- and Smoke-Protective Curtains: Understanding Fire Codes

Fire- and smoke-protective curtains are becoming more prevalent at commercial structures for the united states of america when you look at the previous decade. While curtains have now been utilized extensively in the uk since the 1980s, many use that is curtain commercial settings in america ended up being limited by theaters. Some facility managers, construction officials, architects, and even fire department personnel have expressed frustration in knowing exactly which codes and standards apply while the use of curtains evolves in commercial settings. Present updates have actually produced further confusion.

A written report centered on research by rule specialist Vickie Lovell and Douglas Evens, Fellow associated with community of Fire Protection Engineers, details codes and requirements center supervisors need to find out about curtains. The report also contains applications which may be appropriate, and where they have been improper. Here you will find the shows.

What Exactly Are Fire Curtains?

A fire- and smoke-protective curtain installation is a versatile heat-resistant textile infused with

a layer to limit atmosphere infiltration. Curtains restrict the consequences of unimpeded migration of fire and/or smoke. They may be fixed in position, automatically deploy upon receiving a sign from a smoke security unit, or gravity-deploy on a loss in energy. They could be hidden above a roof and weighted to aid with implementation and restriction deflection due to atmosphere motion. They may not be, nonetheless, an alternative that is equivalent a fire-resistant flooring or wall surface construction.

Codes and guidelines

There are numerous brand brand new and revised codes and test requirements within the U.S. market to deal with making use of smoke- and curtains that are fire-protective. Underwriters Laboratories (UL) while the nationwide Fire Protection Association (NFPA) have actually a few codes that connect with these items. Probably the most critical are UL 10D, UL 1874, and NFPA 80.

UL10 was approved in 2014 and evaluates fire-protective curtain assemblies designed to offer supplemental, passive fire security included in an engineered fire security system. UL 1784, that was additionally recently introduced, tests assemblies for atmosphere leakage of home assemblies as well as other protectives. UL 864 details demands for control devices and add-ons for fire security systems.

NFPA 80 regulates the maintenance and installation of assemblies and products utilized to safeguard spaces in walls, floors, and ceilings from the spread of fire within or into structures. The 2016 version of NFPA 80 included a brand new definition for fire-protective curtain assemblies. NFPA 80, Section 21.1.1, clarifies that the generation that is current of assemblies are to not be confused with fabric fire security curtains, that are particularly meant for security of proscenium spaces. Fabric fire security curtain assemblies are section of the passive separation that is fire-resistive the phase as well as the market sitting area. They truly are meant to offer at the very least 20 mins of security so audiences can evacuate safely. For recognition as proscenium opening security, curtains must meet with the needs for the 2016 Edition of NFPA 80 Chapter 20, which deal specifically with fabric curtains.

Where you should Utilize Them

Compliant applications for curtains include draft curtains for escalators, stair spaces, and warehouse storage space areas;

smoke partitions, including opening protectives; elevator hoist-ways to restrict smoke migration; non-egress opening protectives in corridors that want a 20-minute rating and smoke cigarettes obstacles; proscenium spaces (supplied the curtains additionally meet up with the needs of Chapter 20 of 2016 NFPA 80); and solution counter fire doorways where 20-minute opening protectives are permitted. A UL Task Group normally thinking about the addition of horizontal sliding applications, that will create a lot more possibilities to make use of curtains.

Code conformity, performance, and visual traits, integration with an engineered smoke control system, and available alternatives should be thought about whenever assessing making use of smoke- and fire-protective curtain assemblies in commercial structures. Choices consist of firefighters’ override, sizing, orientation, guide systems, material materials, and siren/strobe light abilities.

Steve Weyel is an item supervisor with all the BILCO Company, a maker of specialty access services and products.