What is a Fire Curtain?
Fire curtains are fire protection barriers that are specially designed to compartmentalize a building and slow down the spread of fire. Most of the time fire curtains remain inconspicuous in their non-activated state. When triggered by a fire alarm or other signal, they roll out of their headbox.
Along with other fire protection technology such as fire doors, fire rated windows, and alarm systems, fire-rated curtains play an important role in protecting building occupants in the case of a fire. They help create safe passageways for people to evacuate and slow down the spread of fire until the fire brigade arrives.
Fire Curtain Requirements in Australia
Buildings in Australia are required to meet the fire safety standards contained in the Building Code of Australia. Specifically, commercial buildings must comply with AS4072.1 and AS1530.4.
The particular fire rated requirements for commercial projects depends on the type of building. For example, office buildings may have different requirements for retail buildings and restaurants.
Fire curtains and other fire-rated elements are assigned a Fire Resistance Level (FRL) according to the Building Code of Australia. The FRL indicates how effective a fire curtain is at withstanding fire under test conditions.
For example, a fire curtain may be given an FRL of -/60/60. These numbers refer to structural adequacy/integrity/insulation.
They are not structural building elements and so they are not given a number for structural adequacy. Integrity refers to how well the fire curtain prevents the spread of flames and hot gases. Insulation refers to how long the curtain can prevent the spread of fire due to heat transfer.
Maintenance Requirements for Fire Curtains
A key part of fire safety compliance is ongoing maintenance. In most cases, inspections should be conducted annually or more frequently to ensure the curtains remain compliant and perform effectively.
Inspections should be carried out by a trained professional and should involve checking for obstructions, assessing the curtain’s performance, and conducting any maintenance necessary.
Benefits of Fire Curtains
Advanced fire curtains, like the ones we supply at Australian Fire Control, offer a high level of safety while not disrupting the design and layout of the building.
Designed for Modern Spaces
Modern office spaces and other commercial buildings often have an open plan design. Fire curtains can be used to compartmentalize large open spaces and ensure the building meets relevant regulations.
In their unactivated state, fire curtains are unobtrusive, blending in seamlessly with modern and attractive building designs.
Fire curtains are powered by a motor, supported by battery backup. This allows for a controlled and safe deployment that will not endanger occupants below.
Unlike more traditional systems, fire-rated curtains don’t require sprinklers to operate. Through rigorous testing, they have proven to offer high performance while meeting the National Construction Code (NCC) requirements.
Types of Fire Curtains
Vertical Fire Curtains
Vertical fire curtains are designed to be installed above gaps where compartmentalization is required. For example, around escalators, between zones of an open plan room, and in front of elevator doors.
At Australian Fire Control, we supply the effective Vertical Kent Defender Fire Curtains. When they are activated, a woven fiberglass curtain is deployed from the headbox via a motor system. Thanks to the Kent Gravity Fail-Safe System, the fire curtain can descend without reliance on electricity.
Concertina Fire Curtains
Concertina options are folding curtains that are constructed with a pleated design. In their unactivated state, they are stored in an unobtrusive headbox above a gap. When activated, the pleats unfold to create a fire barrier.
We offer the Accordion Kent Defender Fire Curtain, expertly designed without the need for column support or electricity access. This product provides effective fire resistance for up to 180 minutes.
Horizontal Fire Curtains
In some applications, a horizontal fire curtain may be more suitable and may even replace the need for multiple vertical curtains. Horizontal curtains are often used in buildings that have openings within the floors.
Australian Fire Control offers the Horizontal Kent Defender Fire Curtain which is made from a robust woven fiberglass wire fabric that is stitched using stainless steel thread. Slim steel side guides ensure that the curtain does not derail during deployment.
Boundary Fire Curtains
The Boundary Fire Defender Curtain that we offer at Australian Fire Control is an economical option for protecting openings on a boundary wall, as outlined in the NCC  Clause C3.4 (a)(ii)(c).
With a slim, unobtrusive design, this product can be installed over existing windows and has no electrical requirements. The curtain is activated when a critical ambient temperature is reached, protecting the building in the circumstances of a fire in an adjoining property.
Residential Fire Curtains
Fire curtains can be installed in residential buildings and homes but must comply with current building control regulations. Thanks to the minimalist and unobtrusive design, residential options do not detract from the aesthetic of domestic spaces. They can also be powder coated to match the existing color scheme and design.
Where to Buy Fire Rated Products?
When it comes to fire safety, don’t settle for less. At Australian Fire Control, we know how important it is to meet regulations and provide the highest quality protection for a building and its occupants. We offer a wide range of fire-rated systems that are certified to Australian Standards and have undergone rigorous international and local testing.
For more information about our range of fire-rated products, get in touch today on 1300 266 820.