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Introduction

There are many reasons why it is essential to install smoke curtains in buildings in both public access and commercial settings. Smoke curtains channel smoke away to extractor points to greatly reduce levels of smoke in a fire as well as prevent smoke passing through to other areas within a building.

When a fire strikes, smoke is the most likely killer - not the fire itself - making smoke reduction a crucial lifesaver.

These points however, are just the tip of the iceberg for architects and specifiers. This is particularly so when they are choosing which type of smoke curtain to install, not to mention the installer as they could find themselves liable for choosing an inadecuate product or installer.

Smokescreen

Smokescreen is a product which comprises of fire resistant safety glass panels that are joined together to form a continuous clear glass screen as a means to channel the smoke to the extractor fans. The characteristics of this system ensure that it retains all the fire resistant capabilities of a traditional smoke curtain system, without the problems that an active system may give.

Fabric smoke curtains

Traditionally, fabric smoke curtains have been used to contain smoke in the event of a fire. When the fabric smoke curtain is activated, it drops down below the ceiling line to contain any rising smoke in a particular area, at the same time, channelling the smoke towards extractor fans.

Although this methor is tried and tested, there are, in the authors opinion, a number of failings.

Firstly, fabric curtains form part of an active fire protection system, and as such, require regular testing in order to ensure that in the event of a real fire they perform in line with expectations.

Secondly, being manufactured in fabric, they have a tendency to gather dust. During testing it is possible that this dust can be deposited on the area below. Usually areas to be tested are cleared piori to releasing the smoke curtain.

Finally, fabric smoke curtains operated on an electric roller and control mechanism that has to be triggered by the action of an alarm, or in the case of a power failyre. This can create unnecessary inconvenience in a false alarm or a power cut that is not as a direct result of a fire. Some models of active smoke curtains also require manual re-setting after testing. These factors undoubltedly lead to costs in time and money.

Application

Smokestream has been designed for smoke control wherever there is a danger of smoke passing from one area of floor to another and can be used as an attractive, low maintenance alternative to tradional fabric smoke curtains. Smokestream can be installed in both new and existing buildings where a robust smoke control system is required.

Conclusions

Glass smoke curtains provide many advantages, in addition to controlling the movement of smoke. They can be designed to blend in with modern or traditional architectural scehmes and they have low maintenance and installation costs.