Buildings and manufacturing facilities are complex systems containing several different elements that have to be considered when creating a fire safety plan. Draft curtains are a simple and effective way to manage smoke and fire migration in the event of an emergency. The main advantage is that these static curtains are more affordable than engineered ventilation systems and can be easily configured to fit and protect any space.
Unlike an elevator smoke barrier, a draft curtain helps to funnel smoke to venting or exhaust system instead of providing a full enclosure. Due to these very functions, draft curtains are ideal for warehouses, airplane hangars, manufacturing plans, and large, open spaces. Draft curtains serve to limit the spread of smoke and can effectively funnel smoke toward roof vents. These curtains work greatly in tandem with a sprinkler system but can also be installed in areas that don’t require sprinklers. Similarly, these types of curtains should be placed near exhaust vents to slow down the travel of smoke and push it outwards through vents,
At Trax, our draft curtains are made with black 8″ x .080″ thick, patented Tear Drop Edge material, which is renowned throughout the industry for their longevity and resistance to tearing. We supply these curtains with an array of attachment materials including our lightweight, anodized aluminum SealTech mounting system. For replacement, we also provide substitute strips in either standard black or Tear Drop Edge Format.
In this blog, we will discuss the four new use cases for draft curtains in 2019.
Application in Hotels
Commercial kitchens are perpetually at high risk for fire-related hazards due to open flames and LPG gas. Now couple that with high occupancy of guests, and now your hotel will automatically be at a substantially high risk of fire hazards. Draft curtains are deceptively plain in appearance, but can effectively control fire through containment. As a barrier, draft curtains can divide open spaces into smaller, easier-to-control zones. Large vertical openings, staircases, and the elevators are all vulnerable as these airflow channels feed oxygen to the fire. When you block off these narrower spaces and divide the open areas, it will be easier for firefighters to safely enter the building and control fire. In essence, better contained the fire and smoke is, the higher the safety chances for guests and employees.
Application in Warehouses
Although all warehouses should be designed to perfectly comply with the fire safety codes and the country’s standard fire safety regulation, that isn’t always the case. Draft curtains are generally installed in a warehouse’s ceiling framing and aren’t directly exposed to the fire since they are positioned high in the ceiling. In case of a fire in a warehouse, smoke quickly rises and spreads throughout the ceiling, which is known as ceiling jet. Draft curtains help to form a physical barrier that slows the smoke’s movement while also helping to usher the ceiling jet toward a vent. So, instead of smoke freely smoking out among the rafters, it is contained and channeled out of the roof vents. These curtains are highly versatile and can be easily installed in the warehouse’s existing layout.
Application in Airports
Airports aren’t just homes to the planes. Thousands of people walk through it every single day. Thus, draft curtains are a valuable safety addition to every airport. These curtains serve as a passive form of fire safety equipment and function independently. Since these draft curtains are made of heavy-duty, fire-resistant materials, they will effectively offer a balance of both fire and smoke prevention. As airports tend to be open and wide, in case of a fire, it will be very hard to contain it. Thus, draft curtains can address the issue of compartmentation around non-egress stairs and atrium spaces. When positioned vertically, draft curtains form an independent barrier in an open and generally don’t require corner post or walls to anchor them. These are particularly well-suited for airports as they are non-invasive – it doesn’t require a full remodel to add them into your current design.
Applications in Metal buildings and Structures
When it comes to smoke and fire hazards, metal buildings often give a false sense of security as metal is non-combustible. However, steel structures still have to take precautions against smoke and flames. Draft curtains add an extra layer of protection to steel buildings as they are installed on the metal frame on the interior of the building’s ceiling. Draft curtains help to utilize the metal building’s ventilation system by driving the smoke out through the vents of the building. And since they are flame-resistant, they continue to do funnel the smoke even when being exposed to the fire. Draft curtains can be added during the building’s initial construction or retrofitted into the existing layout.