When it comes to fire mitigation and safety measures, fire curtains are a critical feature that can help to prevent fires from spreading through a building, reducing the risk of harm to people and property.

They do this by deploying from above when activated by the fire alarm system, closing off an area by forming a fire-resistant barrier that can hold back flames, allowing people to escape through clear evacuation routes and making it easier for firefighters to extinguish the contained fire.

If a fire curtain isn’t fit for purpose, whether it fails to deploy in a real fire or the curtain itself is defective and can’t withstand the heat, this compromises the safety of those in the building and the property itself.

This would not only be extremely dangerous, but failure to meet regulatory standards could also see building owners and managers prosecuted for breaking safety laws.

A fire curtain is only as effective as its construction, installation, and maintenance – which is why ensuring these steps are completed to the highest standard is crucial.

Here’s what you should be aware of to ensure your fire curtains are high-quality and legally compliant, helping to maximise their performance and longevity.

Fire curtain standards

We’ve discussed how fire curtains work and where fire curtains can be installed before, but the type of fire curtain system you need will depend on where and how you plan to use it.

These factors will affect the specific regulatory requirements that the fire curtain needs to meet from the standard building and fire safety orders.

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 makes it necessary to use fire barriers to safeguard evacuation routes in certain buildings, while Fire Safety Approved Document Boutlines that they must hold back fire for a minimum standardised period.

The manufacturing standards for fire curtains are set out in BS 8524-1, detailing the specifications for designing, testing, and classifying these products to ensure they will work as intended when needed.

Bodies such as the British Standards Institution certify products like fire curtains to confirm that they are proven to comply with international standards under various mechanical tests, with the BSI Kitemark as a recognised symbol of safety and quality.

Approved fire curtains are given a fire rating to determine how many minutes they should maintain their integrity under certain conditions, but choosing the right one for your needs – plus the right operating system – can require advice from the experts.

For example, you can contact the team at Roller Shutter Services for help designing and ordering a fire curtain, and we can discuss factors such as the required fire rating and smoke rating, the size and layout of the building and number of occupants, and provisions for emergency exit or entry.

Professional installation

Even if you know which type of fire curtain you want, it can be beneficial to have a professional survey the area and measure it up to ensure that the system will fit correctly and comply with requirements.

When you come to the Roller Shutter Services team, we can help you to make sure your design fits the specifications of the building and user needs. As experienced suppliers and fitters of a range of shutters and curtains, we have the expertise required to carry out a professional installation.

Trained specialists like ourselves can see to it that fire curtains are properly positioned and systems function as they should, integrating seamlessly with other relevant systems in the building.

During the installation, our engineers will prepare the opening for installation, fit the housing, wire the motor system, and align the rollers and guide rails before inserting and attaching the curtain.

We will then test the fire curtain to check that everything runs smoothly for optimal performance, and that the installation and operation complies with BS 8524-2.

Maintenance checks

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and BS 8524 also require regular maintenance checks and testing to keep fire curtains operating at the level they should be throughout their lifespan.

It’s essential to establish a maintenance schedule according to the manufacturer’s guidelines and fire safety regulations. A ‘competent person’ who is trained in its operation can carry out checks for:

  • Obstructions that could block the curtain from descending
  • Layout changes that could affect fire protection measures
  • Smooth deployment of the curtain during test operation
  • Visible signs of damage to the curtain or components

Any issues should be logged and followed up for urgent repairs if necessary. It’s important to keep detailed records of all checks and their results as evidence of compliance with safety codes of practice.

Regular servicing

The Workplace (Health Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 and the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 also state that a professionally trained person must inspect and service mechanical powered doors, shutters, and curtains to keep them in working order.

This thorough examination should be carried out once every 6 months by an engineer who is qualified to recognise faults in the system and non-compliance with regulations, and to address these and restore the system to the proper condition as quickly as possible.

Along with making sure that no unauthorised adjustments have been made that could affect the curtain’s integrity, a fire curtain service will include:

  • Activating the curtain to open and close it
  • Checking the speed and closure
  • Visually inspecting all parts for damage
  • Ensuring all components are aligned
  • Testing the control panel connections

An expert engineer can ensure that all mechanical, electrical, and manual parts are operating as they should, so your fire curtain will work correctly in the event of a fire.

Order, install, or maintain fire curtains

Understanding the importance of compliance with all of these aspects of fire curtains is key to keeping people safe and minimising the potential of fire and smoke damage to your building.

If you want to make sure your fire curtains are up to par and you stay in line with your legal responsibilities, it’s vital to order your system and have it installed by professionals like Roller Shutter Services – where we also offer annual fire curtain servicing.

For more information about our fire curtain systems or to arrange an inspection, get in touch by calling 0800 328 9356 or emailing info@rollershutterservices.co.uk today.

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