Why install an elevator shaft smoke guard?

When a fire breaks out in a building, the main priority is to prevent loss of life and the biggest life-threatening danger is smoke, not the actual fire. More fire deaths are attributed to smoke than fire burns each year.

One of the biggest concerns in stopping the spread of smoke is the building’s elevator shaft. An elevator shaft acts like a chimney during a fire event, allowing smoke to easily travel to other floors.

The International Building Code (IBC) is the most widely adopted building code in the US. The IBC, as well as the NFPA elevator code, specifies safety requirements for keeping buildings safer during a fire. Their requirements specify an elevator lobby, an area around the elevator opening that can be sealed off with elevator smoke doors.

Elevator lobby pros and cons

Elevator lobbies not only help save lives, but they are required in all buildings where an elevator shaft enclosure connects more than three stories. An elevator lobby must be constructed with one-hour rated firewalls and doors with a minimum of a 20-minute fire rating.

Lobby Pros:

Lobby Cons:

  • Take up valuable building space
  • Add additional building costs

Most architects find designing elevator lobbies with bulky elevator smoke doors far from ideal. Architects would rather use that dead space to add more room to the overall floor plan, which in term could provide more revenue to a building owner.

SmokeShield Elevator Features

SmokeShield Elevator Feature Sheet

SmokeShield Elevator Technical Details

Smoke Shield Elevator Technical Detail Sheet

Request Information on Elevator Smoke Guards

Other fire and smoke guard alternatives

The IBC code allows for seven different exemptions to the fire lobby requirements.

Some of those exemptions include:

  • Automatic sprinklers
  • Unenclosed elevators
  • Magnetically released fire swing doors
  • Pressurized elevator shafts
  • Automatically deploying smoke curtains

Every possible alternative means of having to incorporate an elevator lobby room is not covered in the code, yet one of the most effective alternatives is to provide an automatically deploying smoke curtain.  A smoke curtain provides a sealed smoke guard to prevent smoke and soot from entering the elevator shaft. Our SmokeShield Elevator Smoke Curtain provides such a smoke guard in only 10” of headroom as opposed to the couple hundred square feet a hotel lobby occupies.


Smoky Elevator lobby Smoke guard

Smoke guard curtain FireFighter


SmokeShield Elevator is the perfect smoke protection for buildings

With nearly 100 years of life safety and fire protection product experience, our hoistway smoke guard curtain makes is possible to eliminate the IBC elevator lobby requirement, allowing architects and designers additional room for a more spacious layout.

First and foremost, keeping a tight seal is paramount to prevent smoke from migrating up the elevator shaft to other floors. Magnetic seals can fail if the smoke curtain is pulled too aggressively from the elevator door perimeter once deployed into position. Only SmokeShield Elevator has the patented GuideLock™ technology that positively re-seals the hoistway after the smoke guard curtain is in position.


A smoke guard that is aesthetically pleasing

Providing a smoke guard to seal an elevator shaft does not have to mean an eyesore or bulky hardware. Our SmokeShield Elevator smoke curtains are the most design-friendly hoistway smoke enclosure available in the industry.

  • Some of the smallest headroom, backroom and side room space requirements on the market.
  • Can easily be concealed in wood, drywall, masonry or many other building and fascia materials.
  • Mounting opportunities are practically endless compared to other smoke guard products.  
  • Guides and bottom bars can be finished in a variety of methods to match or compliment their surroundings, when necessary, while maintaining safety requirements or elements.
  • Control box and battery backup are invisibly located within the headbox.


SmokeShield Smoke guard graphics

Six ways how SmokeShield Elevator excels when you need it most:

  1. Automatically deploy when notified by local smoke detectors or alarm control panel.
  2. Transparent curtains, provide high visibility for emergency personnel to quickly assess an area without the need to open the smoke guard curtain.  
  3. Large, easy to read graphics and button ensure fast easy opening and operation once the smoke curtain is deployed, while an additional emergency lift strap is also available.
  4. Equipped with a 24-hour battery backup that is capable of cycling the system for up to 24-hours.
  5. Time delay prevents activation during brief power outages.
  6. Automatically resets and auto-opens once the smoke alarm has been cleared.  

Codes and Listings

  • ISO 9001:2008
  • Buy America Compliance
  • LEED® Compliance


SmokeShield smoke guard benefits

Other smoke guard curtains just can't compare to SmokeShield Elevator smoke curtains:

Smoke guard Comparision
Smoke guard Curtain Graphics Comparision