Active Fire Curtains
Supply · Fit · Service
Fire and smoke curtains are effective and aesthetic solutions to fire safety.
Installed, they are designed to leave only a visible shadow gap, remaining undetectable until the moment of deployment.
This allows building designers to remove non-loadbearing plasterboard walls and expensive fire-resistant glazing and doors and still:
- Maintain compartmentation
- Ensure the space is fully protected from fire and smoke spread
- Retain the design and open plan feel of the space
Active fire systems are a discreet and effective choice for exceeding fire safety requirements in open-plan buildings. Allowing you to meet environmental targets, while also providing the highest degree of fire safety.
Capabilities, characteristics and applications of fire curtains
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Raising Awareness, Standards and Fire Safety
Keeping People Safe
Active fire protection gives building users ample escape time if a fire occurs.
Be safe in the knowledge active fire curtains stop the spread of smoke and fire throughout your building.
Enabling you to retrofit to extend the life of building stock and hit tomorrow’s standards.
Reducing carbon footprint for a better tomorrow.
Raising Safety Standards
Warringtonfire and IFC Group no longer offer BS 8524. It’s time to follow suit – the standard to use in ’23 is BS EN 16034 – whitepaper
Trusted by Household Names
Protecting Prestigious Buildings
St James's Market
We installed 18 FC30e and FC60e active fire systems in this ‘AAA’ rated Crown Estates property.
FC60e active fire systems together with the FRS60 fire shutter ensure the fire safety of residents
The team installed over 100 FC30e and other active fire systems at this iconic address.
The Adexon Difference
In an emergency the difference between ‘industry standard’ and ‘highest standards’ can make the difference between life and death.
Everything we make is made to the highest, best standards we can follow – illustrating one significant difference:
Fig 1 · A typical fire curtain built to a BS spec – they fail for smoke control long before the rating time is reached.
Fig 2 · Adexon engineered – in the event of a fire you’ll be protected by fire proof components, as you should expect.
Fire Curtain FAQs
They’re powered by an electric tubular motor, connected to a control panel. The motor unrolls the fabric of the fire curtain, allowing it to deploy.
The fabric unrolls, either horizontally or vertically, until the opening being protected is sealed courtesy of the bottom bar of the glass fibre fabric reaching and creating a seal with the floor. For a horizontal curtain, instead of a ‘bottom bar’, the curtain has a ‘leading-edge bar’ that travels to the other end of the opening, creating a seal, or it meets the leading-edge bar of the curtain that is travelling from the other side, if it is a bi-parting fire curtain.
This deployment is crucial for the prevention of flame and/or smoke spread, as it separates and compartmentalises the space. This allows the creation of a protected escape route and keeps the fire from the next space.
They’re connected to the alarm system, which when sounded, triggers the deployment.
This deployment speed is carefully calibrated so as not to be too fast and cause injury for people passing underneath it, or too slow and become ineffective, with a descent speed of between 0.03 – 0.3 mps (metres per second).
If the curtain is in the Vertical or Concertina orientation, then it will have a gravity fail-safe to ensure deployment in the event of power failure.
Horizontal curtains have a secondary power source, such as rechargeable batteries to ensure that the curtain can still move across the space if the primary power source fails.
We recommend that all fire curtains have smoke control as standard. It is not always requested by the fire strategy but we all know ‘there is no smoke without a fire’.
We can help design the installation so as little of the curtain as possible is visible once installed in the space.
Fire curtains can be installed so they sit flush with ceilings and edges, so it is visible only once deployed.
Yes, they all must have battery-back up to ensure they continue to function if they lose mains power.
Horizontal fire curtains, due to the direction of closure, require a secondary power source to ensure deployment. This secondary power source is a rechargeable, 30-minute, battery backup, so you have peace of mind that no matter what the situation, your space will be protected. This curtain cannot utilise a gravitational fail-safe due to the direction of closure.
Vertical and concertina fire curtains also have a battery back-up which means they will stay in their ‘open’ position for 30 minutes after loss of mains power e.g. in a fire situation. This is to allow safe evacuation prior to the fire alarm signalling them to close (deploy). They also have gravitational fail-safe to ensure deployment after the 30-minute battery back-up is depleted.
They require scheduled maintenance and servicing, every 6 months as a minimum. They should be tested weekly by site facility management. We recommend servicing and maintaining more often than the minimum due to their critical role in fire-safety.
This is highly unlikely as they’re not often used in situations separating people from escape routes. However, if there were a situation, when there is a power failure, each fire system will stay open for 30-minutes courtesy of the battery backup – unless the fire alarm signals it to close sooner – allowing plenty of time for safe evacuation to avoid being trapped. The standard evacuation time in an emergency is 2½ minutes. This also allows time to get the power back on if required and possible (through the mains or with backup power).
If you are still in the building more than 30-minutes after the power has failed, the curtains will deploy meaning you could be trapped in the rare circumstance you are on the wrong side of a fire curtain after deployment. In this situation you would likely be able to lift the curtain up and escape, due to their lightweight design. This does depend on the overall width of the curtain (wider is heavier). There is an optional extra called an emergency retract button that retracts the curtain (opens it) before closing it again after 30 seconds. However, after the batteries have depleted (30-minutes after power failure) these would not work. If you are concerned these unlikely events could combine in your building, please speak to us about setting the curtains to deploy earlier than the 30-minutes after a power failure so as to conserve some of the batteries for emergency retract button use.
Yes, they can be used in a home setting, or anywhere that people reside overnight, for example, in residential schools, residential homes for the elderly, camp houses etc.
Due to their design, they can be used in spaces where a fire door could not be fitted e.g. due to size.
They can also separate areas designed to be open, for example, between floors, or to cover features such as stairs or lifts, which also applies to the open-plan homes.
Despite having names that are remarkably similar, fire retardant curtains and fire curtains have very different applications, safety benefits, and costs, and therefore should not be confused.
Fire retardant curtains are window dressings used to keep out the light, that have a coating applied to the fabric which allows them to withstand ignition for a period of time.
Automatic fire curtains are specialist active fire protection measures that, once deployed, provide compartmentation for the building and help to limit and stop the spread of fire.
The simple answer is, “Yes”.
For a Certification Body to offer certification that is UKAS accredited they have to submit it to UKAS for auditing and checking e.g. to ensure there are no conflicts of interest. This ultimately protects the consumer. For example, Adexon’s product certifications are from Applus+, who in turn are accredited by an accreditation body called ENAC, a European equivalent to UKAS.