Hospitals and healthcare facilities are public spaces that must observe fire safety measures. Protecting these premises against fire is necessary because lives are on the line, especially since patients receiving medical care may have less mobility if evacuation becomes imminent.
These factors should guide the healthcare sector in constructing hospital buildings and medical facilities using the most suitable materials. Since traditional wired glass is not “safety” glass, it cannot be used in fire-rated glass doors, sidelites, transoms or other hazardous locations.
In this post, we’ll look into how wired glass in healthcare facilities can cause more harm than good and identify safer, better-performing and affordable options.
What is wired glass – and why is it used in healthcare facilities?
As the name indicates, wired glass consists of glass with wire mesh welded at the center. This type of glass, also called Georgian wired glass. Wired glass has been classified for years as a fire-rated glass, tapping the wire mesh’s ability to keep broken shards together during a fire test, and has been widely used as fire-rated glass in many buildings, including hospitals and schools. While the embedded wires may give the impression that it is strong, the opposite is true. Wired glass is actually very brittle, and can easily break even with the force from a small child.
Here are some reasons why wired glass shouldn’t be used in doors, sidelites, transoms and other hazardous locations:
- The presence of wire mesh does not translate to improved glass strength, so the glass can still break.
- When glass breaks, the exposed wires can be a safety hazard and cause serious injuries to passers-by.
- The use of wires in the glass can obstruct or distort the view, affecting visibility within hospital buildings.
- Wire can develop rust, so using wired glass in locations that receive a great deal of humidity and rain may not be a smart decision.
What are the better alternatives to wired glass?
Today, the availability of viable alternatives renders wired glass rather obsolete and hazardous. You can dramatically improve your fire safety efforts, especially if you’re running a healthcare facility, by using optically clear, wire-free, tint-free, USA-made fire-rated glass products available from SAFTI FIRST.
These high-quality, USA-made products are fitted with fire protection and high impact safety features ideal for public facilities such as clinics, hospitals, and similar medical care environments without the need for additional films or laminates. Because they are durable, they can also save replacement costs over time.
Fire Protective Glazing
20-45 minutes. Tested to NFPA 252/257, UL 9/10B/10C. Meets CPSC Cat. II impact safety.
SuperLite I (20 minutes door vision lites)
This fire-protective solution is designed for 20-minute applications on doors made of steel, wood, or aluminum.
Designed to contain smoke and flames, this glass is 1/4 in (6 mm) thick, making it ideal for both interior and exterior applications while being economical. You can also incorporate architectural designs and patterns for aesthetic effects.
SuperClear 45-HS / SuperClear 45-HS-LI (45 minute doors, sidelites, transoms and openings)
We recommend these products for being the clearest, most economical fire-rated and safety-rated glazing.
Both meet all requirements—fire, hose stream, and safety—for 45-minute applications on doors, sidelites, windows, transoms, and openings in large sizes without needing wires, tints, films, or laminates. These superior qualities make for the best-value products you can find in the market.
Fire Resistive Glazing
60-120 minutes. Tested to ASTM E-119/UL 263. Meets CPSC Cat. II impact safety.
SuperLite II-XL 60, 90 and 120
For 60–120 minute wall applications and full vision 60–90 minute temperature-rise doors, SuperLite II-XL is a perfect fit. Because this glass solution is fire-resistive, it offers full protection against everything, from smoke to flames and radiant heat.
The product is also tint-free, so it’s ideal for sections or areas in the building where full vision is a must. It can be used up to the maximum size tested and available in low-iron make-ups for maximum transparency. It can also be customized to meet additional performance requirements such as ballistic, hurricane, blast, forced entry, thermal, acoustic, decorative, and more.
Fire-resistive glass panels for oversized and butt-glazed 60–120 minute wall applications are available from SAFTI FIRST through SuperLite II-XLB 60 and SuperLite II-XLB 120. These products are the perfect fire safety solutions for large areas around hospitals and healthcare facilities. With a maximum clear view area of 10,000 square inches for SuperLite II-XLB 60 and 7,980 square inches for SuperLite II-XLB 120, both offer the largest tested and listed sizes for any 60 or 120 minute wall application. By eliminating the need for vertical mullions with butt-glazed configurations and the option for low-iron make-ups, SuperLite II-XLB delivers unprecedented transparency not seen before in fire rated applications.
All SAFTI FIRST fire-rated glass used in doors, openings, sidelites, transoms and wall applications are listed with UL and/or Intertek and come with a warranty for added peace of mind. Because they are manufactured in the USA, they come with competitive pricing and lead times.
Wired Glass is Out
For the highest quality and level of fire and impact safety, wired glass does not cut it. If wired glass is the loophole in your facility’s line of defense against fire and safety hazards, now is the time to utilize better-performing, fully code-approved and economical fire-rated glazing solutions made right here in the USA to improve your buildings’ safety against fires and accidental impact without compromising on aesthetics.
Contact us today to find the most suitable fire-rated solution for your project.