Fire curtain maintenance

Posted by Tom Archer on 20/05/22 10:00

FM1 Fire CurtainTo get started on this topic, let’s first explore what a fire curtain is and how it helps keep buildings safe. A fire curtain is a flexible fire-rated barrier that is held out of sight in a headbox until needed. When activated by a fire alarm system, a fire curtain automatically drops down, between guide channels to seal the space where a wall and door would normally have been.

The compartmentation provided by these fire-resistant curtains helps to:

  • Give people more time to escape from the building
  • Protect the escape routes from being damaged by heat, fire or smoke
  • Prevent the development and spread of the fire
  • Protect the building from damage

Fire curtains can be perfectly integrated into the building’s design so that when they are retracted, they are virtually invisible.

Where are fire curtains installed?

There are more options when it comes to installing fire curtains as opposed to fire doors. For example, a fire curtain could be fitted in an open planned space. This allows open planned buildings to still meet the required fire safety regulations.

They are commonly installed around lobbies and staircases, which tend to be essential escape routes during the event of a fire. When placed in these locations, fire curtains seal off an area allowing occupants out and the fire services personnel in.

Fire curtain testing and servicing

FM1-2BS 8524 is the British Standard for Active Fire Curtain Assemblies. Part 1 is the product specification, while Part 2 is the practice of application, installation, commissioning, and maintenance. BS8524-1 requires thorough testing of the fire curtain product, including (but not limited to) the right fire performance, life cycle testing, can withstand impact and descends at a controlled rate to avoid injury/damage. This means that the owner can have confidence that the product will do the job it was designed to do when it is installed.

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order, and BS 8524-2, require that fire curtains be tested and maintained, ensuring the tested performance is delivered throughout their lifetime. Servicing, planned inspections, testing and maintenance should be performed by a ‘competent person who is able to check and confirm that barrier assemblies are operating and performing effectively, when required.’ These inspections must be logged and conducted in alignment with the manufacturer’s instructions.

There are some checks that must be conducted by a competent engineer. However, the BS 8524 recommends that the Responsible Person on-site conducts some straightforward checks more frequently. These checks may include:

  • Checking that there are no obstructions that could potentially stop the fire curtain from deploying
  • Ensuring that any changes to the building’s layout could have implications on the fire protection features within the building
  • Frequently deploying the fire curtain in test mode
  • Visually inspect the fire curtains for signs of damage
  • Reporting operational failures or difficulties to your fire curtain servicing provider.

Furthermore, the BS 8524 suggests that all maintenance staff should be fully trained by the manufacturer.

Colt is fully compliant with BS 8524

Following an exhaustive phase of rigorous testing, Colt has been independently certified by the IFC Certification Ltd (IFCC Scheme SDP11-02 Certificate 1458 & 1459) to British Standard BS 8524, Part 1 in recognition of our competence and expertise.

Part 1 is the specification for the product which specifies a thorough and exhaustive regime of testing for the product itself, Part 2 is a Code of Practice covering application, installation and maintenance. To demonstrate compliance with Part 2, Colt are certified for Fire Curtain Installation under Certificate IFCC 3141.

Stay safe and compliant - if you manage or own a building where fire curtains are installed, talk to one of our experts today about scheduling a maintenance visit.

Topics: service, smoke control maintenance