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The Bourne Ultimatum

Fire doors and curtains should be enhanced with a clear panel to assist fire wardens and firefighters.
14 February 2020

Enhancing a fire door or curtain with a transparent vision panel should be considered in an attempt to assist both fire wardens and fire fighters says Stuart Bourne, a leading fire expert.

The latest innovation in passive fire protection is the use of vision panels. In-built fire protection such as fire doors and curtains that have a clear, window-like panel, enable first responders to see smoke or flames on the other side. This is extremely beneficial for first responders according to passive smoke and fire containment specialist, Stuart Bourne, MIFireE at Coopers Fire.

Bourne says: “According to Approved Document B, vision panels should be provided where fire doors on escape routes subdivide corridors; any doors are hung to swing both ways; or where it is required for providing an inner room arrangement.


"In the event of a fire, where a fire curtain is utilised instead of a fire door, the curtain will deploy with a vision panel and give the person the same options as a door would, when carrying out their search techniques in a fire situation."

 – Stuart Bourne

MIFireE, Coopers Fire

Precious time


Vision panels could save precious time by allowing individuals to see through the curtain like looking through a window. In an emergency, time is crucial and fire protection measures should help make first responders more efficient in their role and not hinder the evacuation process.”

Fire curtains are key to compartmentation, which is fundamental for maintaining the fire safety measures and overall fire strategy of a building, and greatly reduces the effect of fire spreading from one compartment to another.

Choosing a fire curtain with a vision panel allows building occupants and first responders to identify risk in different sections of a building, even once the curtain has been deployed. Coopers Fire’s ResQ-Window, for example, permits first responders to see through the curtain to see what is on the other side.




BS 8524 is an important standard, providing comprehensive guidance on the specification, installation and ongoing maintenance of fire curtains. BS EN 1634-1, meanwhile, is the key testing certification to look for in terms of compliance and product integrity. Both of these standards are worthy of careful consideration from fire and security specialists looking to take their fire safety specification to the next level.


Massive difference


Bourne concludes: “As a fully compliant, translucent fireproof panel, the ResQ-Window is a concept capable of making a massive difference in areas of a building which need to be assessed prior to entry. A fire curtain with a vision panel is perfect for lift openings and lobbies, as well as escape routes incorporating doorways and corridors.”

Picture: Fire doors and curtains should be enhanced with a clear panel to assist fire wardens and firefighters.





Article written by Brian Shillibeer | Published 14 February 2020


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