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NOTE: This is an unformatted excerpt from our online fire protection training library.

Hydraulic Calculations

Special Design Approaches

Water Curtains

Water curtains have been used in many applications, some improperlyIn the past, many water curtains were installed where they would have little or no affect in stopping the progression of a fire. The biggest example of this took place in warehouse operations, where the fire doors in walls separating the space were, and still are, constantly damaged by materials movement. In place of the fire doors, water curtain were provided, and, unfortunately, a water curtain does nothing to prevent the transmission of radiant energy from one space to another. Fire loss history is sprinkled with a number of losses where this took place, perhaps the most famous being the K-Mart warehouse in PA, in the late 1970's. , over the years. NFPA 13 only recognizes the use of water curtains for two (2) specific applications.  Vertical openings is the first, and the proscenium opening...across the front of the stage. in a theater is the other.

In a space that has a vertical opening, the sprinklers are used in lieu of a solid closure for the opening in the floor, as in the case of an escalator in a department store.  A series of closely spacedNot more than six (6) feet apart. If they are closer than six (6) feet apart, baffles are required to prevent "skipping" of sprinklers. sprinklers are used in conjunction with "draft stops", sometimes called curtain boards.  The draft stops wrap the opening and allow for the banking of heat and smoke at the draft stop, disallowing the spread vertically.  Sprinklers are located within six (6) to twelve (12) inches from the draft stops.

Where the protection of the prosceniumOne of the most famous theater fires occurred in the Iroquois Theater in the early 1900's. Approximately 600 people were killed in a fire that started on the stage, and the people in the theater didn't realize the fire wasn't part of the play until it was too late. This fire was key in bringing the requirement for proscenium protection to theaters. The first form was the provision of a manually closing asbestos curtain that would drop across the stage when a stage hand saw a fire, and manually released the curtain. Some of these still exist, and they are activated by cutting a rope to allow the curtain to drop. As you can imagine, there are drawbacks to this... opening is provided by sprinklers, the system has to be a deluge system.  The open sprinklers are required to be located no more than three (3) feet from the edge of the stage opening, on the stage side, spaced not more than six feet apart.

This picture shows the Iriquois Theatre proscenium and stage, after the fire.
NOTE: This is an unformatted excerpt from our online fire protection training library.

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