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Fires are the most common threat to any commercial building and fire prevention systems are essential to keep the fire under control. When a fire occurs inside a building, fire prevention systems should turn on automatically to douse the fire as quickly as possible.
While fire prevention systems work efficiently most of the time, there could be some instances where they may malfunction or don’t perform optimally. Fire can produce a miasma of black smoke that can suffocate and kill a person within a few minutes. Therefore, commercial building owners should consider installing smoke vents in addition to other fire prevention systems.
What is a Smoke Vent?
Smoke vents are openings in the roofs which are used to vent the smoke and heat produced by a fire inside the building by the action of buoyancy. The sole responsibility of the smoke vents is to eliminate the smoke generated by the fire as opening the windows alone cannot remove the smoke effectively. Smoke will constantly move upwards if it is not pushed in a particular direction. Opening the windows will only remove some amount of the smoke, while most of it will keep going up and spreading until it consumes the entire building floor.
Provide a Clear Route for Firefighters
When firefighters arrive at the site, it is important for them to have a clear pathway without the thick smoke which may impede their movements. However, a building with smoke vents can ensure that the thick smoke disperses easily.
Allow for Escape
You may have seen movies where people would crawl down when the building is on fire. They do that because the smoke always floats upwards, so the safest space for everyone to breathe is close to the floor. While crawling can provide a window of opportunity to escape the burning building, inhalation of smoke could still be dangerous to the occupants.
But if smoke vents are installed, they will create a breathable room inside the building by constantly eliminating the thick smoke. There would be more visibility, making it easier for people to get out of the building at the earliest. You can find smoke vents that automatically open themselves when they detect a fire through the fusible link.
Minimizing Damage to Your Building
Some commercial building owners aren't aware of the importance of installing smoke vents. In addition to venting the smoke, they can help slow down the spread of fire, helping to reduce the damage to the building and the assets inside. When the smoke vent opens, it creates a natural vacuum that sucks out the air from inside the building. Fire cannot combust if it lacks oxygen, which helps extinguish the flames faster. As mentioned, opening the windows will not change anything. It will only cause the smoke to spread in the room more quickly, blocking vision and making it hard for everyone to breathe.
As a commercial building owner, you have to ensure that the building is safe for everyone and you can achieve it by providing several safety features like smoke vents. It helps the building tenants trust your building more. You can also expect them to lease the building for a longer time.
Don't forget to install smoke vents if you want to create a safer commercial building. If you already have one installed and need maintenance personnel to take care of it, you can make their jobs easier by getting a roof hatch from Best Access Doors.