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Fire can be devastating and dangerous, but smoke is deadlier. Smoke ventilation systems are designed to allow smoke to leave the building in the event of a fire, minimising smoke inhalation and reducing fire damage. Automatic Opening Vent systems are a type of smoke vent that works by opening automatically when fire is detected, offering an escape route for the smoke so that it is channelled out of the structure rather than building up in a confined space.
Why is smoke so damaging? Smoke causes more deaths than fire itself, partly because it reduces the amount of oxygen available in the air to breathe, and partly due to the inhalation of toxic fumes such as carbon monoxide. As well as being harmful to breathe in, smoke and hot air can build up inside a burning building, causing heat damage and even, eventually leading to an explosion or ‘flashover’.
For all of these reasons, one of the main priorities in the event of a fire is to minimise the build-up of smoke in the building.
The role of the smoke vent
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 both state that the person responsible for a building must take steps to ensure that it is fire safe. A vital part of fire safety for any commercial building, smoke vents can:
- Save lives by reducing smoke inhalation and keeping fire escape routes free from smoke
- Help firefighters to do their jobs by improving visibility and revealing the source of the smoke and
- Prevent damage that could lead to building collapse
How smoke vents work
In their most basic form, smoke vents are openings, such as windows or skylights, that offer an escape route for smoke and hot air.
AOV’s are smoke vents that work automatically when fire breaks out. When the sensors detect fire or smoke in the building, they open a roof vent or window to allow the smoke to escape. Because no intervention is necessary, they are superior to manual smoke vents that need to be opened by hand – something that isn’t always possible in the event of a building blaze.
What to look for in a smoke ventilation system
It’s important to ensure that your smoke vents comply with all the requisite building regulations. The exact requirements for your building will depend on a number of factors, such as the size of the building, the number of floors it has, and how it is used. Make sure you are up-to-date and compliant with all the legal requirements for your building type.
At A Plus Aluminium, our AOV’soffer the highest levels of fire safety. We work with fire safety solution company SE Controls to ensure that your smoke ventilation system is fully compliant and meets all the required standards. Find out more about our smoke vents or contact us to discuss your building and arrange a quote.