Fire and smoke curtain webinar Q&A

Posted by Paul Compton on 13/09/16 12:00

Thanks to all those who attended my webinar last week on the design considerations when integrating smoke and fire curtains into a building. The webinar is now available as a recording, which you can watch at any time.

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Topics: Curtains, Fire Containment, Smoke Containment, Webinar

Choosing control systems and power supplies for smoke and fire curtains

Posted by Paul Compton on 30/08/16 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).

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Topics: Smoke Control, Fire Containment, Controls, Curtains

9 tips for smoke and fire curtain installations

Posted by Paul Compton on 02/08/16 12:00

Installing fire curtains and smoke curtains can be tricky to get right. Here are 9 hopefully useful tips to help you. Read More

Topics: Fire Containment, Smoke Containment, Webinar, Curtains

Fire safety through compartmentation with smoke and fire curtains

Posted by Paul Compton on 26/07/16 12:00

If you think that five breaths are all it takes to lose consciousness, you won’t be surprised to learn that as many as 70% of victims in a fire suffocate. Thick smoke can lead to disorientation and make it difficult to breathe, while the heat can cause parts of the building to collapse and start secondary fires. All this makes it difficult for people to find their way out of the building and for emergency services to make their way in to fight the fire.

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Topics: Smoke Control, Fire Containment, Smoke Containment, Curtains

Specifying smoke control systems: a complex task that you can’t afford to get wrong

Posted by Paul Compton on 02/02/16 12:00

Smoke control is a ‘wide science’: it requires in-depth knowledge of the building layout, the technical aspects and the bewildering array of regulations in force. Each type of building has its own peculiarities and some have specific regulations and guidance on smoke control.

Specifying a smoke control system is not always easy, and you can’t afford to get it wrong. These are life-saving systems and their failure could have dramatic consequences. And a lack of confidence or knowledge can lead to over-specification with consequent unnecessary costs.

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Topics: Smoke Control, Regulations, Curtains

Have testing regimes in standards got out of touch with reality?

Posted by Conor Logan on 26/01/16 12:00

First of all, don’t misunderstand my objective here. I think better regulation of fire industry construction products is a good thing. A standard that requires relevant testing of fire safety products is of absolute benefit – providing the testing requirements are based on empirical evidence of the products in fire situations.

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Topics: Regulations, Curtains

Smoke and fire curtains webinar Q&A

Posted by Paul Compton on 03/11/15 12:00

I received some excellent questions during the Q&A section during the recent webinar that I presented. Here you can see my answers to these questions, slightly edited for clarity.

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Topics: Fire Containment, Smoke Containment, Webinar, Curtains

Designing for gaps in smoke curtains

Posted by Paul Compton on 13/10/15 11:30

In the UK, as with the rest of the EU, smoke curtains have to comply with the EN 12101-1 Product Standard. 

The Standard specifies the maximum amount of smoke leakage at the edges of a smoke curtain in order to ensure that any openings only allow small amounts of smoke to pass the curtain. However any smoke which passes the curtain through such a gap is likely to be mixed with the unpolluted air on the protected side of the curtain and thus is unlikely to represent a significant threat to people.

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Topics: Smoke Containment, Curtains

Detailing of side guides and bottom bars for smoke and fire curtains

Posted by Paul Compton on 29/09/15 11:30

At the design stage it is necessary to pay attention to the detailing of side guides and bottom bars for smoke and fire curtains.

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Topics: Smoke Control, Fire Containment, Curtains

How can we avoid the risk of external influences causing a fire curtain to stick?

Posted by Paul Compton on 12/05/15 11:30

A properly designed and installed fire curtain will deploy time and time again without any problem. BS 8524-1 includes a reliability test where the curtain is cycle tested to prove reliability of operation over an extended period.

What can go wrong? Excess pressure differences

However, it is quite possible for a fire curtain to stick if subjected to excess pressure differences or air velocities while it is deploying. The problem is that the pressure or velocity pushes the fabric and its end guides against one side of the side guide rail and the resulting additional friction can overcome the gravitational force and stop the curtain in its tracks.

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Topics: Fire Containment, Curtains

Smoke and fire curtains webinar Q&A

Posted by Paul Compton on 03/03/15 11:30

At our recent webinar on smoke and fire curtains, I received a large number of excellent questions during the Q&A section. Here you can see my answers to these questions, slightly edited for clarity. 

There is also a recording of the webinar available. Watching the recorded version will still enable you to claim CPD points.

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Topics: Fire Containment, Smoke Containment, Webinar, Curtains

Smoke and fire curtain control system power supplies: keep it simple!

Posted by Paul Compton on 17/02/15 11:30

Following on from our previous blog covering specifying fire curtains, we now turn to automatic controls for smoke and fire curtains.

Again we’ve been seeing lots of long-winded specifications calling for quite sophisticated control functions and features, mentioning potentially confusing features such as ‘epicyclic gearbox retarders’ which seem to be very specific to certain manufacturers rather than being an application or project requirement. These kinds of specifications may well be over complicating matters and potentially could build in reliability issues as well as increasing capital and maintenance costs unnecessarily. 

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Topics: Fire Containment, Smoke Containment, Controls, Curtains

Specifying Fire Curtains: over-complicate things at your peril!

Posted by Paul Compton on 10/02/15 11:30

Fire curtains: what they do. As an alternative to bulky fire shutters or doors, a fire curtain is designed to seal off an opening between two areas, deploying when there is a fire to prevent that fire from spreading from one area to another. It operates automatically when connected to a suitable control system and when it has been installed and commissioned correctly.

Specifying: why level of integrity should come first. With the above in mind, arguably the most important aspect of specifying a fire curtain is deciding what level of integrity is actually required to maintain compartmentation between the two areas to be protected. So, the critical consideration should be, does the fire curtain need to provide 30, 60, 120 or 180 minutes integrity?

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Topics: Fire Containment, Smoke Containment, Curtains

CPD-accredited webinar: Design considerations when integrating smoke and fire curtains into a building

Posted by Paul Compton on 03/02/15 11:30

Join me on Friday 27th Febuary 2015 at 12:30 GMT, as I present a free CPD webinar on the design considerations when integrating smoke and fire curtains into a building. 

Fire curtains seal off an area which is on fire, thereby preventing fire from moving from one area to another. Smoke curtains prevent the passage of smoke. 

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Topics: Fire Containment, Smoke Containment, Curtains

Questions and Answers from our smoke and fire curtains webinar

Posted by Paul Compton on 25/03/14 11:30

At Colt’s CPD accredited  smoke and fire curtains webinar, we received some interesting questions in the Q&A session at the end, which I would like to share.
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Topics: Fire Containment, Smoke Containment, Webinar, Smoke ventilation, CPD, Curtains