Smoke curtains are barriers that trap smoke and prevent it from spreading throughout a building in areas such as elevator shafts.
When it comes to fire safety, especially in multistory buildings the biggest threat is not the fire itself, but the smoke that fills the building. Creating a smoke guard barrier to prevent smoke from spreading can be a huge difference when it comes to life-saving. Installing a smoke curtain is a simple and practical way to trap smoke and prevent it spreading throughout a building. Smoke curtains are barriers that deploy upon an alarm trigger and seal areas such as elevator shafts from smoke migration.
Why are smoke rated doors needed?
There are several areas that smoke can use to penetrate other areas of a building but one of the most vulnerable is the elevator shaft. To seal the elevator shaft from quickly spreading smoke a building can build a lobby around the elevator area and have fire and smoke doors that shut upon a fire event. This takes up a good amount of floor space that could be otherwise used for other rooms or productive space.
The International Building Code requires an elevator lobby, a minimum floor space depending upon occupancy, in all buildings more than three stories at each floor at the elevator shaft with fire partitions and fire doors. However, an easier solution is to install a smoke curtain to seal the elevator and provide a smoke guard to protect other levels. This hoistway closure makes it possible to eliminate the IBC Elevator lobby requirement, and allows the design visionary to pursue more spacious and unique layouts in areas typically requiring elevator lobbies. Elevator smoke blocking curtains are a specified exception in IBC chapter 30.
How does a smoke curtain work?
There are several options when it comes to choosing smoke curtains for your building. Size, ease of installation, effective seal and aesthetics are all factors to consider. Previously, installing an elevator curtain to seal off smoke meant a bulky product that rolled down to deploy.
Our new SmokeShield Elevator Smoke enclosure is the most efficient and comprehensive elevator smoke guard available. Our exclusive GuideLock technology always reseals the hoistway after cycling. Other smoke guards use magnetic technology to seal the opening. Unlike other smoke doors on the market, our smoke rated doors travel in a sealed guide to ensure resealing when the barrier is opened. A large graphic with a centered activation switch can easily be pushed to open the smoke barrier door and allow passage. Additional, a backup emergency lift strap is included. Simply push the button or lift the emergency strap to open the passageway.
The SmokeShield Elevator smoke barrier automatically closes to reseal the opening and prevent smoke from escaping. Other models available on the market require magnetic activation to reseal the opening after someone manually pushes or pulls the smoke guard open. If the barrier does not fall back into place, especially at the bottom, the seal is compromised. Only SmokeShield Elevator reseals 100% of the time.
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Smoke guard barrier installation and aesthetics
Installation is another issue when choosing a smoke curtain. SmokeShield Elevator is the most design adaptable smoke guard available on the market. SmokeShield Elevator gives a flush ceiling fit with multiple finishes available or can be completely hidden in a ceiling. SmokeShield Elevator smoke barrier can easily be concealed in
Smoke enclosure space
Size is a big factor why SmokeShield Elevator offers so many design options. With some of the smallest headroom, backroom and side room on the market, this is a smoke barrier door that can fit into less than 10” of headroom for openings up to 12’ high and 12’ wide. This allows for more creativity when designing the elevator surroundings. Only SmokeShield Elevator allows for a smoke guard barrier that can be installed in multiple options such as mounted under masonry fascia and look practically invisible.
Elevator smoke door safety
One of the biggest draws that architects have been bragging about is the multiple safety options that are standard with SmokeShield Elevator. The ability to always reseal itself after opening is a game changer, but many other safety features stand out. SmokeShield Elevator features large intuitive graphics that make it easy for emergency responders or evacuees to simply operate the smoke door with a simple push of the centrally located door switch, which is operatable from either side. The smoke curtain is made from a highly visible transparent material, allowing firefighters and EMT’s to assess the area before entering.
All SmokeShield Elevator smoke barrier doors include a built-in battery backup, that is capable of opening and cycling for up to 24 hours after losing power. Most other products on the market only provide this as an optional upgrade. In the event power is not available, the smoke curtain can be easily manually raised with the built-in emergency strap lift and will continue to seal itself afterward. SmokeShield Elevator has the capability to be tied into the existing fire alarm control panel, ensuring automatically deployment during a fire event. The smoke guard curtain automatically resets and auto-opens after the alarm is cleared, saving the hassle and time of the need to go reset smoke guards that have deployed.
UL 325, UL 1784, and NFPA elevator code compliant
In today’s world of fire safety, it is important to make sure that you are up to code with the latest requirements. The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) defines how elevators should be treated during a fire event. Their fire protection and life-saving requirements for elevator safety reference the ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) Elevator Code and Handbook which defines how elevators operate and are protected during a fire event.
Among the main requirements to follow is the International Building Code. It is the model building code typically
The International Code Council (ICC) further defines “Smoke Containment Systems” and how they should comply with the IBC. The ICC evaluates many building products and will publish public reports for public availability. Many architects, engineers and specification writers will use the ICC Evaluation Service Reports to determine if a product meets the requirements and specifications for local building codes. SmokeShield Elevator complies with ICC-ES Report AC – 77.
The other requirement to think about is how the product itself operates. Underwriters Laboratories is the best know not-for-profit testing laboratory. As an independent tester, they can test the product’s safety, quality, compliance, security, operation and more. When a product passes the designed specifications and requirements, it is then “listed” in UL’s published nationally recognized Standards for Safety. Almost all architects will specify that product have been UL tested and listed, especially for fire protection. SmokeShield is listed for UL 1784 and UL 325. As far as outside the United States, ASTM International is another organization that publishes technical standards internationally. SmokeShield Elevator is additionally ASTM E864 listed.
The ultimate smoke curtain choice
We have applied over 100 years of experience in the life safety and fire protection industries to help create the ultimate elevator smoke barrier. With its GuideLock technology, small size advanced safety features, SmokeShield Elevator is the only smoke guard barrier that provides 100% positive re-seals, limitless design capabilities and opening a closing features that are unmatched by any other smoke enclosure system available.
Not sure which fire protection product is right for you? Our Commercial Security Grille Support Team can help you find the right grille along with architectural drawings, engineering needs, codes, specifications or any door or grille question you may have.