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Understanding Fire Shutters and Fire Curtains: Your Guide to Fire Safety Solutions

5th March 2024

Fire Shutters vs. Fire Curtains: What's the Difference?

Fire Shutters: Manufactured from steel, fire shutters are sturdy barriers installed over doors, windows and serveries. They are designed to compartmentalise a building to prevent the spread of fire.

In everyday use, fire shutters can be open and closed like a normal roller shutter to close off the opening providing security as well as fire protection.

In the event of a fire, they must be be triggered automatically by fire alarm systems or heat detectors to close and seal off an area, preventing the spread of fire.

For a more detailed into Fire Shutters, please read our Buyers Guide or webpage on Fire Shutters.

Fire Curtains: Fire curtains, on the other hand, are made from specially treated, fire-resistant fabrics. They are usually concealed in the ceiling and deploy automatically in the event of a fire. Fire curtains are less intrusive than fire shutters and are ideal for maintaining the aesthetic and architectural features of a building while providing effective fire protection.

Fire curtains are not designed to be used on a daily basis and provide no security, they only deploy in a fire alarm activation.

Typically hidden away, fire curtains do not impact daily operations or aesthetics. When activated by a fire alarm or detector, they unroll from their concealed position to form a barrier against fire and smoke, helping to maintain safe escape routes and prevent fire spread.

Top 5 Frequently Asked Questions

Are fire shutters and fire curtains visible when not in use?

Fire shutters are visible and can form part of a building's design. Conversely, fire curtains are usually concealed within the ceiling and are virtually invisible when not in use.

Can fire shutters and curtains be integrated into existing fire alarm systems?

Yes, both can be integrated into existing fire alarm systems for automatic activation during a fire.

How long do fire shutters and curtains provide protection during a fire?

Both are designed to provide protection for a specified period, typically ranging from 30 minutes to 4 hours, depending on the product and requirements of the space.

Are there different types of fire curtains?

Yes, there are various types, including smoke curtains, fire curtains and fire & smoke curtains, each suited to different environments and applications.

Do fire shutters and curtains require maintenance?

Yes, regular maintenance is crucial to ensure they operate correctly during a fire. It's recommended to have them inspected and serviced by professionals at least annually.


Fire shutters and fire curtains are vital components of a building's fire protection strategy. Understanding the differences between them and how they operate both daily and in the event of a fire can help you make informed decisions about the safety of your property. Always consult with fire safety professionals to ensure that your fire protection measures are up to standard and right for your needs.

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