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Could better smoke ventilation improve fire prevention in industrial buildings?

Published: 27 July 2016 - Sarah Mead

In response to a number of fires at UK industrial sites, Whitesales is keen to raise awareness of the importance of restricting the air flow that fuels fires, and extracting the smoke that takes lives.

The waste and recycling industry has suffered a number of fires and  industrial and warehouse buildings are also at risk of being involved in fires.

 While the majority of firms operate as safely as possible and undertake all necessary fire prevention strategies, accidents can still happen.

One of the most important fire safety planning measures a building or business owner can take is to specify the right smoke ventilation system and products. However, waiting until undertaking a full refurbishment could well prove to be a false and dangerous economy.

Installing electronically controlled smoke ventilation systems, sited in key areas and linked to a central control panel and a network of sensors, is fundamental to protecting property and lives. Smoke vents and louvre windows can be fitted ot most flat or profiled roofs to extract heat and smoke to reduce fire spread and damage

A life-saving solution?

Shanks Waste Management’s mechanical biological treatment (MBT) plant in Rainham suffered a blaze in 2014 that took 81 firemen more than 24 hours to bring under control.

To ensure that any future incident would be less costly, the company asked Whitesales to assess the existing smoke ventilation arrangement and design a better system. The companies worked together with a contractor to create a safer system that satisfied best practice and met all codes of practice and regulations.

The rebuilt treatment centre now features a combination of high-security Es-Vent single-leaf smoke vents, with impact-resistant polycarbonate glazing for maximum natural light, and Es-Louvre smoke vents – all linked into the building management system.

This means that the interior storage area is now daylit. The vents can also be opened to help regulate interior temperatures and allow fresh air circulation. Most importantly, however, in the event of fire, the lsmoke vents will rapidly extract choking smoke and fumes, giving employees more time to safely evacuate the building in the event of a fire.

Adding value

Increasing passive comfort ventilation and introducing natural light adds value to any smoke ventilation system, but the most important factor is, of course, safety. It is vital that plant and warehouse managers seek out confirmation that their existing smoke ventilation is not just suitable for the size and configuration of their buildings, but that each component achieves Building Regulation ADB and ADL compliance and EN 12101-2 Smoke Regulations certification.

For more information and to read the full article in the latest issue of Industrial Compliance magazine here.



 
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