Choosing control systems and power supplies for smoke and fire curtains

Posted by Paul Compton on 30/08/2016, 12:00

Smoke and fire curtains are usually controlled (either individually or in groups) by a zone control panel. The curtains are allowed to fall automatically under the influence of gravity when the power is lost, which can happen in a fire or during a simple power cut. However if there is an electricity outage where there is no emergency, this can be a nuisance, and it can be prevented by using either a local Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) or a Battery Back-Up (BBU).

When would a BBU or UPS be essential to fire operation?

In many cases such devices are not essential in terms of fire protection, but there are cases where a BBU or UPS is needed to make sure the curtain will deploy as designed in a fire condition. That’s when, for example, multiple or intermediate potential drop positions are required, perhaps where curtains are located in escape routes.

In this instance there may be emergency access or egress controls which enable the curtain to be raised after it has been lowered, either in order to allow people to escape under it or to let fire fighters through.

If you are ordering them from Colt, both gravity fall and drive down curtains can be configured to provide these kinds of drop positions.

Selecting the right control system: keep it simple!

Curtains which drop under gravity are inherently reliable and perfectly suitable for the vast majority of applications, so it pays to give consideration to the actual requirements of the project when specifying control systems for smoke and fire curtains.

At Colt we believe in keeping things simple and keep costs down for our customers. Accordingly our LOC is a basic system which provides an interface between the fire alarm and the curtain and this has been designed to comply with EN 16034. However if a more sophisticated control system is needed, for example to meet BS 8524, our SKC-SC control system will fit the bill. We always look at the specific requirements of each project and make a choice.

Whitepaper - “Design considerations when integrating smoke and fire curtains into a building”

Download the whitepaper which explains the differences between smoke and fire curtains, the standards which they comply with, and how to install, test and maintain them.

Webinar - “Design considerations when integrating smoke and fire curtains into a building” 

Join Paul Compton, Technical Director at Colt UK, from 12.30-13.30 BST on Thursday 8th September 2016, as he presents a CIBSE CPD webinar on the design considerations when integrating smoke and fire curtains into a building.


Paul Compton Paul Compton is Technical Director for Colt, experienced in smoke control, HVAC, solar shading and louvre systems.

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Topics: Smoke Control, Fire Containment, Controls, Curtains