Did you know that U.S fire departments respond to an average of 3,340 fires in office properties per year? That is exactly the reason why fire safety should be one of the key considerations when designing and setting up a workplace.
If you are wondering what you can do to improve fire safety in your workplace, we are here to help! To start off, fire safety can be achieved through various means, from OSHA 10 online training to proper material selection. Fire-rated glass screens, fire-resistant walls, and effective fire detection systems go far in preventing construction fires and limiting their ability to damage property or human life.
In this article, we will be focusing on a popular means of fire safety for many commercial properties here in the U.S. – Fire rated glass.
What Is the Hype About Fire Rated Glass?
“How different can it be from ordinary glass?” When comparing visually between a fire-rated glass panel and one that is not, it is hard to tell the difference. However, a significant difference is there. Normal tempered glass can survive only up to temperatures of 500°F. However, especially designed fire-rated, also known as fire-resistive glass can tolerate up to temperatures of more than 1600°F.
With such a significant difference in performance against heat, in a fire, it is clear which would play a significant role in helping to minimize the spread of smoke and fire.
Different Types of Fire Rated Glass:
- Pyran Platinum Glass (Filmed or Laminated):
Made of clear and colourless glass-ceramic with a thickness of 5 mm. Suited for non-impact and less safety-rated locations like portholes and windowpanes with fire-rating that need up to 90 minutes. This comes with the option of an additional film layer for higher safety protection or a laminated layer to withstand thermal shocks and high heat up to 2000 °F.
- Pyrex Glass (sand-based):
A borosilicate silicon sand-based glass that is able to withstand temperatures up to 914°F. Comparatively inexpensive to other fire-rated glass options.
- Robax Glass (yellow tinted):
Lightly tinted yellow ceramic glass which is extremely strong and sturdy – low chance of shattering in high temperatures up to 1472°F.
- Diamond Wire Glass (wire embedded in):
Has wire mesh embedded in the glass, prevents glass from falling out even when it cracks. Typically used in doors.
While there is a wide variety to choose from, one would typically consider the type of fire-resistant glass, depending on the purpose in that location, considerations on impact and safety rating, and even the interior style of the location.
Fire Rating Standards:
As the examples above indicate, not all fire-safety glass performs equally – some can tolerate higher heat, others can withstand thermal shock. And even within each specific category of glass, the performance varies too. As such, all fire-rated glass before they are rated as such, are put through a series of tests based on national standards and are assigned ratings based on their performance.
The final ratings are in terms of time increments. For example, a fire-rated glass with a 3-hour rating would mean that it can remain intact for up to 3 hours in a fire. Ratings range from short periods of 30 minutes to up to 3 hours. Depending on building codes and safety requirements, different types of fire-resistive glass need to be used.
How Does It Work?
So how exactly does fire-rated glass help in a fire in the workplace? Here are 3 main ways of how it is useful:
- Visibility: Transparent fire-resistive glass doors and screens compared to opaque traditional fire doors, screens, or walls, help employees quickly identify the source of the fire.
- Containment: The main benefit comes with the ability to contain fire and smoke within a specific area and prevent the spread. Depending on the fire rating of the glass, it should be able to minimize the spread for up to 3 hours. That would allow for sufficient time for help to arrive and put out the fire.
- Evacuation: When implemented correctly, fireplace glass also be smartly used to create a safe and clear fire escape route from the office premises.
For workplaces like chemical or electrical manufacturing firms or textile warehouses, which are prone to fire hazards, fire-rated glass is essential to make the place a safer location for the employees. For many companies looking to adhere to the popular “Safety First” slogan, fire rated glass is a must have in the workplace.
Does it Affect My Workplace Interior Design?
In the past, fire-rated materials or installations (e.g. walls, doors, and screens) usually meant unsightly structures that stuck out like a sore thumb amidst the workplace.
However, thanks to the evolution of glazing technology, fire-rated glass systems have achieved the ability to blend seamlessly with the office surroundings.
Nowadays, the sky is the limit when it comes to what you can incorporate into your workplace interior design and have the benefit of fire safety. From customized shapes to the clarity of the glass and even framing materials, you will definitely be able to find one that fits your specific needs.
Popular choices for the following office setups include:
- Office Wall Partition: SCHOTT PYRAN® Platinum L (laminated)
- Office Doors: SCHOTT PYRAN® Platinum F (filmed)
Where to Buy Genuine Fire Rated Glass?
When it comes to safety, we understand that quality is of utmost priority. That is why, at Fab Glass and Mirror, we offer only the top range of quality fire rated glass, which can serve any functionality at your workplace. Bonus: You can order online and have them delivered to your doorstep without any delivery charges anywhere in USA!
Additionally, we pride ourselves on our exceptional after sale service and 10-year warranty to guarantee the satisfaction of every single customer.
Want to have a peace of mind for your commercial property? Speak to us and learn more about how we can be of help to protect your workplace.
Simply drop us a message on our online chat bot or drop us an email to provide us with your requirements on fire safety.