Fire Curtains have emerged in the US construction market over the last 30 years as a versatile opening protective. UL 10D was published in 2014 to standardize the testing and rating of these sophisticated products. They have been listed in NFPA-80 since 2016 and were adopted into IBC Code on the 2021 publication. Dedicated domestic fabricators and major door brands have invested in the development and distribution of curtains as the next generation opening protective. In jurisdictions using pre-2021 IBC, Fire Curtains are accepted per §104.11, which explicitly allows alternative protection methods “where the building official finds that the proposed …

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Draft curtains are commonly used in warehouses, aircraft hangars, and large industrial plants to control and slow down the spread of smoke that rises to the ceiling during a fire. Draft curtains can be manufactured of several materials, including flame-retardant fiberglass, glass smoke baffles, or sheet metal panels.

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UL 10D evaluates Fire Protective Curtain Assemblies that provide supplemental, passive fire protection as part of an engineered fire protection system. These methods are intended to assess the ability of fire-protective curtain assemblies to remain in a horizontal or vertical opening during a predetermined test exposure.

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Glass Smoke Baffles are noncombustible curtains that hang from the ceiling and work as smoke barriers between slab openings, level changes, or divisions. Smoke baffles are there to limit the spread of smoke and provide means of egress during evacuation situations.

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Fire Curtains are often compared to fire doors. While they perform the same job, placing a UL-rated opening protective across an opening in a rated wall, they differ drastically in composition, arrangement, control, and testing to assure consistent performance across opening protective technologies. Though fire curtains don’t swing as an overall assembly as fire doors do, they sometimes include passageways for egress that are tested to stay closed during the same 20 Pa pressures as their UL testing. This closure is done by mandating a designed overlap between the multiple rollers of the system. This overlap varies between manufacturers but …

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How long does a fire curtain last? The life expectancy of smoke and fire curtain is 15-20 years before any significant degradation. It is recommended to test and inspect all fire-protective curtains once a year. Proper testing and maintenance will keep fire curtains operating at maximum effectiveness and avoid motor failures, side rail obstructions, and other problems. Testing Requirements for Fire Protective Curtains “The fire performance evaluation of these assemblies is tested in accordance with ASTM E119, Standard Test Methods for Fire Tests of Building Construction and Materials or ANSI/UL 263, Standard for Fire Tests of Building Construction and Materials, …

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Since fire and smoke curtains have small, light headboxes, they can be installed “hidden” above the ceiling and offer more architectural freedom than traditional solutions, like doors or walls. Fire curtains are often used in open-plan situations where the building’s aesthetics matter the most, like atria, stairwells, and lobbies of all types of buildings, from residential to retail to industrial. But first, what is a fire curtain? A Fire curtain is a deployable fire-rated textile that descends from the ceiling to block an opening and stop fire and smoke from spreading. It comprises a housing (headbox), lateral guides, and closing …

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Fire curtains and Fire shutters work to stop the spread of smoke and fire in a fire event. A fire alarm system can automatically trigger both. Both are there to minimize property damage and save lives. Despite their similarities, there are some things to consider before choosing the right option for your project. What is a fire shutter? Fire shutters are used as structural barriers to compartmentalize and prevent the spread of fire. Generally made of galvanized steel or stainless steel, fire shutters offer a traditional and robust method of fire compartmentation. Where are they used? Fire Rated Shutters are …

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In the event of a fire, an unprotected elevator shaft acts like a chimney, spreading smoke through the subsequent floors. For that reason, per 2018 IBC §3006, elevator hoistways connecting more than three stories must comply with the smoke and draft control door assembly requirements and be tested in accordance with UL 1784.

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What is a Draft Curtain? The NFPA defines a Draft Curtain as a “Fixed or Automatically deployable noncombustible barrier that protrudes downward from the ceiling to channel, contain or prevent the migration of smoke.” Draft Curtains can be manufactured from fire-resistant fiberglass woven textiles, glass (commonly called smoke baffles), or even panels of sheet metal.

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A Fire Curtain and a Smoke Curtain are similar in appearance and operation, but they have different functions. A smoke curtain is used as part of a smoke control system. It is there to either stop smoke from reaching another zone or channel it through a particular route. Smoke Curtains don’t descend to ground level (ceiling to floor). They are generally set above head height, so as not to interfere with the means of escape. A fire curtain, on the other hand, is used to provide fire separation between two spaces. It may provide smoke control, but that is not its primary purpose, …

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