What are the different ways to activate a fire curtain?

What are the different ways to activate a fire curtain?
Close up to the melt yellow candle and fire flame with the red curtain background.

If you’re new to fire curtains, you might wonder, “What are the different ways that the fire curtain can be activated–and what’s the difference?” There are several ways to activate a fire curtain. Some of them are the Split drop system, Gravity Fail Safe System, DSI-C3HR fabric, and NFPA 80 requirements.

Split drop system

A Split drop fire curtain system is a temporary means of escape from a building in case of a fire. This system works by containing smoke in a compartment that drops to a preset height and stays in place for a specified period. Once the fire has subsided, the curtain opens fully and descends back into place. It can be equipped with a safety bottom bar to prevent a curtain from descending too fast or blocking a doorway.

A Split drop fire curtain system is an excellent solution for airports. It can separate different areas, such as a concourse, non-egress stairs, and an atrium. This type of fire curtain can be placed strategically between floors to contain the smoke. It is also recommended for multi-level buildings, such as museums. These buildings often feature open floor plans and must be protected from fire.

Gravity Fail Safe System

The Gravity Fail Safe System is a fire curtain activation system that relies on a motor that incorporates open and short-circuits protection to deploy the fire curtain in a controlled and safe manner. 

The Gravity Fail Safe System activates fire curtains even with no power supply. The fire curtain falls from its head box to its operational position, creating a physical barrier that prevents fire spread in a building. The fail-safe system has revolutionised the design of large open buildings.

The system ensures fire curtain closure for 30 minutes after a fire starts. 

In case of a power failure, the GCP can continue operating the fire curtain and remain operational for up to four hours. The fire alarm control system will restore the 24V supply to the motors, allowing the curtains to deploy and retract safely under the power of gravity.

DSI-C3HR fabric

The DSI-C3HR Fire protective Smoke Curtain is a cost-effective, gravity-fail-safe fire curtain incorporating the latest electronic technology. The curtain is available in single-barrel configurations for widths under 16ft and multi-barrel configurations for larger widths. Each assembly consists of a fire-rated fibreglass fabric wound around a roller. It is typically installed above ceilings or buried in walls. Once installed, these curtain systems are virtually undetectable until they need to be activated.

NFPA 80 requirements

When the fire safety curtain assembly is not in use, it must be closed to ensure compliance. It must also be properly labelled. The label should be located within 5 feet of the bottom of the curtain and indicate its fire resistance rating. In addition, fire safety curtain assemblies must undergo annual inspections to ensure their proper function and maintenance. The inspection should include all components of the fire safety curtain assembly and emergency operation activation. If necessary, re-training should take place during these annual inspections.

Installation of fire-resistant curtain assemblies is critical for property protection and occupant safety. NFPA 80 specifies that fire doors and windows should be tested and inspected annually. This code also requires fire-resistant glass and glazing to meet certain testing requirements. The code also includes a new chapter on fire protective curtain assemblies, which addresses new technologies. It also introduces additional guidance on installing oversized fire doors and fire curtain assemblies, including their use in confined spaces. In addition, new requirements on smoke and fire-resistant curtain assemblies reflect industry needs.

Types of fire curtains

There are different types of fire curtains available in the market. They are used to protect buildings from fire. However, before installing a fire curtain, it is important to know the requirements and the advantages and disadvantages of using this type of curtain. The purpose of this article is to provide the information necessary to choose the right fire curtain for your building.

A good horizontal fire curtain must be able to resist fire and smoke for about four hours. A fire curtain has three main functions in a building: preventing the spread of fire, protecting escape routes, and providing protection to building occupants. It is essential to protect the escape routes of a building because openings without a fire-resistant barrier can cause fire to spread and affect the life safety of building occupants.