Assured performance in public spaces

Fire and smoke curtains can help designers to meet stringent fire safety requirements in public entertainment and retail premises while retaining large open plan spaces says Coopers Fire Ltd.

Places of public entertainment such as theatres, concert halls and shopping malls often showcase the skills of architects in designing landmark buildings, and feature large open plan designs incorporating multi-storey atria, with multiple escalators and complex architectural features.

Nevertheless such buildings must meet stringent fire safety requirements which aim to protect the lives of occupants by ensuring a safe means of escape and slow the spread of fire and smoke.

Used in place of traditional compartmentation like walls and doors, smoke and fire curtains offer greater flexibility. Active fire and smoke curtain barrier assemblies comprise of technologically advanced fire-resistant fabric barriers encased in a compact steel housing. Fire curtains are intelligent fire safety systems that can interact with a building’s alarm panel or building management system (BMS). They remain invisibly retracted until activated by an alarm or detector signal, at which time they descend safely to their operational position to stop and control the spread of fire and smoke in a building.

They can be used to divide buildings such as entertainment complexes or large open spaced retail units into compartments; to close openings in compartment walls or ceilings; or to close open compartment shafts such as escalators or stairwells. They can also provide protection to atria and lift lobbies and offer boundary protection to prevent vertical fire and smoke spread or building proximity issues.

Case studies

Coopers Fire has installed smoke and fire curtains in a number of shopping complexes around the world, including Westfield in London, The Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates in Dubai. At Bluewater, Coopers Fire manufactured, installed, and commissioned some 300 SmokeStop smoke barriers. Designed to fit the shopping mall’s vaulted ceiling, curved features and critical evacuation points, these formed part of a smoke containment strategy to protect the shopping mall’s means of escape from smoke migration and allowing for the safe evacuation.

The use of Coopers fire curtains to provide a fire break around escalators is illustrated by its fire curtain solution for the new Topshop and Topman store in Oxford. Coopers Fire installed an L shaped, open FireMaster Concertina fire curtain around a two-way escalator connecting the ground floor and basement of the store. Once deployed, the FireMaster Concertina creates a ‘virtual wall’ around the escalator providing 240 minutes of integrity in accordance with BS EN 1634-1: 2008.

At the Adidas Superstore, Paris, Coopers Fire installed a series of Smoke Stop vertical smoke curtains above each escalator to protect the store’s multi-storey retail configuration from smoke.

Coopers Fire also developed a smoke curtain system to protect the open plan atrium at the SSE Hydro entertainment venue in Scotland. The system provides a nonintrusive method of controlling smoke migrating from the lower floors of the atrium. Coopers Fire also provided a fire curtain barrier system to protect the un-insulated glazing installed above the atrium’s reception area.

Coopers Fire also provided smoke curtains to protect Sydney Opera House. Working in conjunction with the building’s state of the art mechanical air handling systems to provide a fully integrated smoke control strategy, SmokeStop smoke curtains were developed to deploy from the ceiling to compartmentalise the backstage area of the theatres and protect the auditoriums from smoke.

Specifying Coopers Fire smoke and fire barrier systems is the best way to ensure that every fire or smoke curtain will operate exactly as expected in the event of a fire.

Coopers Fire offers third party certificated products that have been tested to the most rigorous standards, as well as third party accredited installation and specialist after care packages, tailored to your specific requirements.

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