Do Fire Curtains Require Emergency Power?
Fire safety is of utmost importance in any residential or commercial building. In the event of a
fire, it is critical to have a reliable life safety system in place to protect occupants and minimize
damage to the property. Fire curtains, a form of fire protective curtain assemblies (NFPA 80),
are now typical in many buildings. This article will discuss fire curtains, their functioning, and
whether they require emergency power.
What are Fire Curtains?
Fire curtains are vertically deploying fire protection systems designed to prevent the spread of
fire and smoke. These curtains are made of fire-resistant textiles and installed above an
opening, such as atriums or in front of storefront glass. In the event of a fire, the fire curtains
will deploy automatically, creating a barrier to prevent the spread of fire and smoke. Fire curtains
are commonly used in commercial buildings to protect occupants and property.
One common misconception is that fire curtains require emergency power to function. However,
this is different. Fire curtains are designed to be gravity fail-safe, meaning they will perform their
function even in a power failure. The internal motor of the fire curtain system only serves to raise
the fire curtain to its resting position and requires less than five amps to hold.
Fire curtains only need to be connected to building power and do not require a dedicated circuit.
Emergency or backup power is not required for the code-compliant operation of the fire curtain.
In the event of a power failure, the fire curtains will deploy automatically. After a power failure,
the fire curtain will deploy at 6” per second until power is restored, and the system will reset
Optional Backup Batteries
Many fire curtain systems include optional backup batteries certified to UL 864 for use in a life
safety system. These backup batteries permit the occupants to temporarily press a button to
raise the curtains for emergency egress. However, these backup batteries are not required
for the fire curtain to function correctly. The fire curtain may be connected to the emergency
In conclusion, fire curtains are a reliable fire safety system that does not require emergency
power to function. These systems are designed to be gravity fail-safe and will perform their
function even in a power failure. However, optional backup batteries can provide additional
safety and peace of mind in an emergency. It is essential to consult with a fire protection
professional to ensure that your fire safety system, including fire curtains, meets the applicable
codes and standards.
Are you interested in using fire curtains in your next project? The Fire Curtain Technologies team of engineers is ready to help you find the right option. We provide design and code compliance support free of charge.