Perimeter Smoke Curtains: 5 Uses for Full Coverage

Smoke curtains are an important and often integral part of any building’s smoke and fire suppression plan, as they can help block and direct the flow of smoke within a building. This can help keep it contained to the area the fire started so it’s able to be put out more quickly with less damage to other areas.

Smoke curtains are most frequently used as opening protectives for elevators or atriums, but they have a number of other applications as well. Perimeter smoke curtains, which can help encapsulate a select area, can be useful at protecting the space or contents inside. For large openings, vertical penetrations such as stairways and other areas that are not as easily blocked, a perimeter curtain can be an invaluable part of a fire containment plan.

1. Open Stairwell Protection

Open stairways are very common in modern buildings because they offer a lot more light and ambiance than enclosed stairways. They can also be more centrally located in many buildings. In the event of a fire, however, they can be more difficult to seal off than an enclosed stairway.

In a path of non-egress, a perimeter smoke curtain will quickly and easily seal off the entire stairway in order to keep the smoke from traveling between floors where it could do more damage. It can also help channel people to safer areas, as well as prevent widespread smoke infiltration.

2. Atrium Sealing

In buildings that feature tall lobbies or atriums with wide-open ceilings and perimeter catwalks, a perimeter curtain can also help protect the upper floors from smoke generated on a lower floor.

By enveloping the entire atrium from the ceiling down to the edge of the upper floor, it can prevent the smoke from filing upper story corridors in order to give people on the upper floors time to exit safely. It can also help prevent the smoke from damaging additional areas of the building.

3. Upper Floor Protection

In some floor plans, the stairway isn’t entirely open. It may be contained by walls on either side, but at the top of the stairs, there is a wide-open landing which can be more difficult to seal or enclose in the event of a fire. A perimeter curtain will close off this landing area.

While perimeter curtains can be four-sided, they can also be custom made, such as this L-shaped shown above, which can seal off the top of the stairs no matter how they are configured. This prevents smoke from escaping down the stairs — or from coming from the floor below— using the staircase as a chimney.

4. Document Protection

If you have sensitive or important documents in a central location, they can be difficult to protect in the event of a fire. A sprinkler system may put out the fire, but it can damage the papers stored there. A perimeter smoke curtain, however, can be used to completely envelop the sensitive materials.

The curtain drops from the ceiling and completely surrounds the area where the documents are stored. No matter how large or small the area, it can be sealed off from smoke and flame. The papers and sensitive material inside can’t be harmed by the smoke or by a sprinkler system that may be putting out flames nearby.

5. Art and Artifact Protection

Museums, schools and galleries often have displays, artwork or artifacts that are situated in the center of a space. In the event of a fire, it can be difficult to protect these items both from the smoke and from other fire suppression methods. Using a perimeter curtain, you can create areas of protection for displays.

The curtain can be set to drop from the ceiling manually or automatically as soon as the fire alarm is triggered, surrounding the display or items in question. This can protect them better than suppression systems that use water or chemicals that may put out the fire, but damage the items on display.

Get the Protection and Full Coverage You Need

Smoke and fire curtains can provide protection as an important part of your passive fire suppression system. Make sure that not only your doorways but also your stairways, open areas and valuable items are protected as well. Use perimeter smoke curtains to help get the full coverage you need to fully protect your space.

For full coverage and peace of mind, contact the smoke and fire containment specialists at Smoke Guard today.