Workplace Fire Safety: How Fire Curtains Work

Most people don’t have to think too much about fire safety and they don’t need to know very much about specialist fire safety equipment. However, if you’re managing a company, renting out a property, or if you’ve been appointed to the role of fire safety officer at your job, you will suddenly have to know quite a lot about fire safety. We recently wrote a blog post explaining why fire curtains are necessary for some businesses and many of our blog posts offer advice and information about fire safety and our range of fire curtains, smoke curtains, and fire shutters. In today’s blog we’d like to explain how fire curtains work. For more specific information about fire curtains, please get in touch or visit our automatic fire curtains page.

Disclaimer: A Variety of Fire Curtain Options

Whilst we’ll go on to explain some of the specific details of our fire curtains and how they work, it’s important to note that we install all of our fire curtains ourselves and our experts can tailor your fire curtain installation to meet your needs. So, if you think you need something a little different to what you read below, we may be able to facilitate this. For example, we can provide fire curtains with a (theoretically) unlimited width, depending on what you need. Talk to one of our expert advisors and tell us exactly what you’re looking for.

How Do Fire Curtains Work?

Put simply, fire curtains are fireproof curtains that block fire from spreading past them. They are made from extremely flame-retardant material that can keep a fire at bay for up to two hours. Slowing the spread of fire can give people enough time to escape and it can stall the fire for more than enough time to allow the fire service to get to your premises and tackle the blaze.

Our Fire Curtains Are Automatic

The fire curtains we install here at K&D Systems are automatic, which means they are folded up out of sight until they are needed. We connect the fire curtains up to your fire alarm system and they are activated when enough smoke or heat triggers the alarm. You can choose how you want your fire curtains to behave: they can descend instantly, right to the floor, or descend halfway and wait a few minutes for anyone on your premises to walk under them before dropping all the way to the floor. Automatic fire curtains allow businesses to put them wherever they feel they’re needed without worrying about them getting in the way or being an eyesore. The installation is subtle and discrete, and they can save lives and prevent significant losses in the event of a fire.

Where Should You Install Fire Curtains?

Obviously, it matters greatly where you choose to install your fire curtains. If installed in the wrong place, they will be a wasted investment; if installed in the right place, they could save lives and thousands of pounds of potential damages.

One strategy is to install fire curtains close to a potential fire risk to limit where it can spread to. In an office environment, printing rooms can be a potential fire risk as there is a lot of paper to serve as fuel for a fire and the printers, scanners, etc, are sources of heat and electricity, which can serve as ignition sources. So, fitting fire curtains just outside the printer room is a great way of limiting the fire to one small area. Think of it as protecting the rest of your premises by making an informed bet on the most likely place in your premises to catch fire.

Another strategy is to install a fire curtain to protect the highest concentration of staff members or the most valuable concentration of company assets. In an open-plan office, fire curtains can be fitted in the main office area to protect the workers. In a warehouse, a fire curtain can be fitted close to (or surrounding) the most valuable stock, significantly reducing the financial repercussions of a workplace fire.

What Are the Benefits of Installing Fire Curtains?

We’ve discussed the benefits of installing fire curtains throughout this blog post, but it’s worth focusing on them in a little more detail. First of all, fire curtains have been proven to save lives. Even the most ferocious fires can be held at bay by our fire curtains, and this buys people (visitors and staff) plenty of time to escape. Fire curtains also block out most of the smoke from a fire, which also saves lives.

Fire curtains can also save the most valuable parts of your business form fire by limiting the fire to a smaller area. This is especially relevant for any business with extremely valuable equipment or stock. And, whilst your insurance might cover all of the damages incurred by a fire, some things — computer files and assets that haven’t been saved to the cloud, for example — can be lost forever.

Another benefit to fitting a fire curtain is that it may even help starve the fire of fuel and oxygen, putting the fire out before the fire department arrives. Fire needs ample oxygen and fuel to burn, so if the fire is stuck behind a fire curtain and it runs out of furniture and other objects to burn, it may burn itself out relatively quickly. Obviously, this depends on the building, whether the floors are wooden, and how much furniture there is. Even if the fire doesn’t burn itself out, stalling it behind a fire curtain for two hours buys plenty of time for the fire service to make its way to you premises and put out the fire.


That’s all we have time for in this guide. We hope one or two readers have learned something new about fire curtains and how they work. If you have any questions for us, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

6 reasons to trust K & D Systems

  1. We’re amazing value for money: all our manufacturing takes place within our plant in Sunderland.
  2. We have a team there to respond to all quotes within 24 hours.
  3. Our installation team have over 30 years’ fitting experience.
  4. We offer controlled descent and gravity fail safe systems.
  5. We are continually investing in research and development.
  6. We offer a 3 day turnaround time* on production.

*3 day turnaround time subject to certain restrictions; please ask us.

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