30 March 2020 | Chris Jones
Many FMs are still unaware of the legislation and maintenance requirements of internal fire curtains - a potentially life-saving product category, says Chris Jones.
Many FMs are still unaware of the legislation and maintenance requirements of internal fire curtains - a potentially life-saving product category.
There is a British Standard covering fire curtains - it's the only global dedicated standard for their specification, installation and maintenance. Not knowing about this standard leaves many at risk of being out of their depth should a fire break out in their building.
The British Standard BS 8524 was released in 2013 and comprises two parts: part 1 for the specification of the fire curtain, and part 2 for its installation and continuing maintenance. FMs need to be familiar with this standard so that only the best-quality products are installed and a suitable maintenance regime is in place.
BS 8524 makes the importance of continuing maintenance clear, however, as a product category that is the epitome of 'out of sight, out of mind'; most FMs live in hope they will never see a fire curtain in action. Unfortunately, that mindset becomes flawed as soon as they realise that it contradicts best practice.
By reviewing their fire curtain provision, FMs can identify areas of a building that may benefit from innovative ideas that have the potential to save precious time during a building evacuation.
Compliant concepts, such as a translucent fireproof vision panel, can make a difference in areas of a building that need to be assessed before entry.
A fire curtain with a vision panel is perfect for lift openings and lobbies, as well as escape routes incorporating doorways and corridors - and can also be retrofitted to existing fire curtain installations. This is the type of technology that FM stand to benefit from when it comes to managing passive fire protection within a building.
Chris Jones is head of service at Coopers Fire