Drop Of Comfort For London Shoppers

Westfield, London (probably the largest inner-city shopping centre in Europe) has finally opened its doors to the shopping public after ten years of planning and construction. High street giant Debenhams, a major retailer in the centre, have an open plan design to their store which begins with four huge 7m wide shop entrances spread over two floors. The serious fire and smoke risks associated with these huge entrances could have a profound effect on shoppers and staff in the store on both floors and shoppers in the concourse areas outside the store.

If a fire starts in the store, the risk of smoke travelling to the concourse areas is considered to be a real problem that could cause shoppers to panic, rather than escape in a safe and orderly fashion. After extensive consultation with Intumescent Systems Ltd, major international manufacturers of passive fire prevention products, it was decided to fit a discreet automated Envirograf® 7m wide motorised smoke curtain at each of the four entrances. The curtains would be lowered under motorised control to the specified 800mm drop when activated by the fire alarm circuit. This short curtain drop distance was considered to be enough to contain the smoke within the store for extraction without the risk of it billowing out into the main shopping area and causing panic among the shopping public in the adjacent concourse areas - a highly-effective solution!

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