Fire curtains have been proven to be effective in compartmentalising fire. The technology behind it has gone a long way since it was introduced decades ago. And while modern fire curtains have become more complex, the science is actually quite simple.
Here’s everything you need to know.
What Is A Fire Curtain And How Does It Work?
Fire curtains act as a temporary fire barrier typically activated by a smoke or fire alarm. Typically, they are suspended on the ceiling or a doorway. Once triggered, they are lowered down to act as a firebreak, allowing people to safely evacuate through the designated escape routes.
These dividers are made from high-quality, fire-resistant materials designed to confine large spaces and close them into smaller sections during a fire. The contained sections are able to prevent the fire from spreading until the building occupants are out of danger and firefighters are deployed.
How Are They Made?
A fire curtain is an effective way to prevent the spread of flames, especially in open-plan building designs and structures. The material used will determine how much protection it offers.
The modern fire protective fabrics can provide more functionality apart from partition, such as insulation and better fire containment.
Fire curtain materials
Fire curtains need to be made from flexible but robust, fire-resistant materials. They must be able to withstand heat while having enough durability to prevent any damage when under pressure or when pulled taut at certain angles.
Additionally, because they act much like roller blinds and must be pulled up when not in use, they also have to be flexible enough so they can be maneuvered easily.
Australian Fire Control uses flexible and durable fire-rated fiberglass fabrics as the base cloth for our fire curtains. The fiberglass is wound in different patterns to give it enough strength and flexibility while making it easy to conceal when not in use.
Fire-rated fiberglass fabrics won’t break down over time, making them perfect for use near flames and high temperatures. They also give off less heat than conventional insulation products when exposed directly to hot surfaces such as wood floors.
Note that the fiberglass fabric is not fireproof– as it may still melt or burn when exposed to high heat over time. However, it is heavily fire-resistant, which means it can withstand a certain amount of heat and can prevent the spread of flames effectively.
Fiberglass is also lightweight and compact, making it more manageable and appropriate in many places where heavier materials wouldn’t work.
How Do Fire Curtains Work?
As mentioned, the science behind fire curtains is simple, and it doesn’t stop at choosing the best quality fire-resistant material or having the most advanced sensors.
Instead, its effectiveness comes from two things:
One is understanding how to deprive fires of what they need to spread, and two is knowing when to deploy the fire curtain or other protective barriers.
To better understand how they work, it’s imperative to know how it functions in compartmentation and as a system for active fire protection.
Active vs passive fire protection
Active fire protection is a system that needs to be triggered to turn on or activate.
A fire curtain is an essential part of active fire protection. It responds to the presence of fire or smoke alarms or heat conductor failures, much like a sprinkler system.
On the other hand, passive fire protection is a fire protection system that is always “on” and doesn’t require a fire or smoke alarm for activation.
A great example of passive fire protection is fire doors, fire curtain walls, and floors. Fire doors function as physical barriers to contain fires, much like a fire curtain. However, they are built into the structure and installed directly in place, thus requiring no trigger.
The main function of fire curtains is compartmentation. This is the process where buildings are divided into smaller sections using fire-resistant materials to limit the spread of flames and create more manageable areas.
The fire curtains from Australian Fire Control are powered by the Gravity Fail-Safe System, a non-electric system that relies solely on gravity for its descent. This means it can be installed in any location without the need to worry about power, as long as there’s enough clearance from walls or other obstructions.
In case of fire, the curtains are dropped down to completely enclose an area to block airflow from one room to another.
The lack of airflow deprives the fire of oxygen and slows down its spread. It also results in lower fire intensity, thus improving the efficacy of other fire protection systems in place.
Advanced fire curtains also function to dampen and insulate the contained areas to minimize damage to the structural elements of the building.
Fire Curtains From Australian Fire Control
Fire curtains are an essential element in the building's design and safety. In a fire incident, an effectively fitted curtain can help to suppress flames and protect lives.
Australian Fire Control is proudly made and certified in Australia. And as the country’s leading fire protection company, we install and maintain many different types of fire curtain systems that feature the most advanced controls and mechanisms. Our fire curtains are also designed to blend with the building’s interior and are nearly invisible when rolled up.
AFC’s fire curtains also feature intelligent controls and advanced mechanisms to ensure the best functionality and fire safety.
To learn more about how we can install a system that will protect your building and business from the risk of fires without compromising structural design and integrity, call us at 1300 226 820 or email sales@AustralianFireControl.com.au.