by Will Mason
Smoke Vent Control Systems are an important part of the fire defence strategy. Make sure your system are maintained and operational in the event of fire.
With the ever-increasing amount of apartment blocks over 3 floors, smoke control systems are playing a major role in the fire protection for the occupants. When a fire breaks out in such properties, the major cause of fatalities is not caused by the fire itself, but the smoke.
In the event of fire within a tall residential apartment block, activation of a smoke vent systems play a vital role in ensuring the escape routes from the building are kept clear of smoke. This aids the occupants if having to escape and the fire brigade who may have to enter the building to locate a member of the public. Furthermore, the smoke vent systems assist in other ways such as, it delays or restricts the events of the fire, smoke vents reduce the build-up of heat and therefore, the structural damage is reduced, and because of a reduction in the heat the flashover scenario is delayed or avoided.
Therefore, to reduce the build-up of smoke and heat within the escape routes, such as the communal corridors and stairwell’s, venting of the smoke is required.
Operation of the vents can be done manually, by a remote manual call point, whereby operating of the manual call point will electrically operate the vent or depending on what type of vent and the location, the corridor vents can be locked by a key and be opened by the fire brigade in the event of fire. The locks for this type of corridor smoke vent is usually a “FB Key”.
Automatic operation of the smoke vents can either be by smoke detectors connected directly to the smoke vent system or the system is interfaced to a building fire alarm. The fire alarm system should conform to BS5839-1 or wired systems, or for wireless fire alarms it should conform to EN54-25. On activation of the smoke detectors or the fire alarm, a signal is sent to the smoke vent panel and the required vents will open. However, it is important to note that not all smoke vents should open unless required to do so. Only the floors of the activation and the stairwell vents should open. If the other floor vents were to open when there is no smoke within these corridors, this could allow the smoke and fire to travel between floors.
Smoke vents have many moving parts and especially the struts, hinges, pistons and actuators, etc. If these parts are stationary over long periods of time, we are talking 6, to 12 months or even longer, than due to the elements a seal develops around the rim of the vent. This seal can prevent the smoke vent from opening. The same can occur with the pistons and actuators. Therefore, to prevent the vents from failing over a period of time, the smoke vent systems will require on-going maintenance. One or two maintenance visits will usually be required per annum. The maintenance will involve testing and repairing all elements of the smoke vent system included the fire alarm.
Why is this? We believe it is down to cost. Therefore, Fire Systems Ltd, is offering free site survey’s to review your smoke control systems and offer a competitive price to maintain and repair any faulty units. We will further reduce our cost, if we are able to maintain any other fire protection equipment on the site.
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