Facilities managers tasked with overseeing the safe operation of large commercial buildings, are being urged to reconsider their approach to overseeing internal fire curtains.
The advice comes from an industry expert, who claims that many are still unaware of the legislation and maintenance requirements of the potentially life-saving product category.
Chris Jones, head of service at coopers fire said: “Facilities managers around the world remain unaware that a British standard and the only global dedicated standard for the specification, installation and maintenance of fire curtains exists. This leaves many at risk of being left out of their depth should a fire break out in their building.”
The British Standard BS 8524 was first released in 2013 and comprises two parts: Part 1 for the specification of the fire curtain, and Part 2 for its installation and ongoing maintenance. According to Jones, greater awareness of this standard is needed to ensure only the highest quality of products are installed and that a suitable maintenance regime is in place.
He continued: “BS 8524 makes the importance of ongoing maintenance very clear, however, as a product category which is the epitome of ‘out of sight, out of mind’, most facilities managers quite understandably live in hope that they will never see a fire curtain in action. Unfortunately, that mindset becomes flawed as soon as they realise that it contradicts best practice.”
By reviewing their fire curtain provision, facilities managers also have the opportunity to identify the areas of a building that may benefit from some of the more innovative concepts to have entered the market. The Coopers Fire ResQ-Window™, for example, allows building occupants and first responders to see through the curtain after it has been deployed – potentially saving precious time during a building evacuation.