Fire attenuator and safety screens may be legally required in certain high-rise complexes, but it can be good to consider installing these in your own home or condominium, even if they're not legally required. These screens can keep you and your family safe in case of a fire, and they also reduce the risk of someone falling out an upper story window. Note a few questions you might have about these types of screens so you can determine if they would work for your home.
How do fire attenuator screens work?
A fire attenuator screen will have very small mesh that won't allow burning embers to pass through an open window, thereby reducing the risk of a fire spreading. This is a protection for those inside a building if a brushfire or other such fire should start outside. This type of screen also reduces the amount of oxygen an interior fire will receive from a building's exterior so that it may burn out more quickly, rather than growing.
What is the difference between a fire attenuator and a safety screen?
A safety screen is not necessarily made to keep out burning embers and oxygen. However, it will be very strong and thick and will typically have deadbolts to keep it in place; some will even be stationary, not opening at all. These screens are meant to protect someone from falling out a window of an upper story.
In some cases, however, a safety screen may also be a fire attenuator screen. This screen may be thick and too strong to bend or pry open, and have strong deadbolts that won't let it open accidentally, and may also have small mesh that is meant to keep burning embers from passing through the window. However, don't confuse these screens and assume that they both work in the same way, as a fire screen may open easily so you can escape out the window, and a safety screen may not necessarily stop a fire from spreading.
Can fire attenuator and safety screens stop break-ins?
Safety screens are meant to be difficult, if not impossible, to just pull off their tracks, and the mesh of these screens is also too strong to simply cut through. However, fire attenuator screens, while being very strong and durable, aren't necessarily meant to keep out intruders, and they may be easily opened from the inside, for emergency egress. If you're worried about security and fire safety, talk to a screen installer about the best combination of both these types of screens.