When we were kids, we all practiced how to get out of the school if there was a fire. If you were lucky, it was just an exercise that you never really used but getting people out of a burning structure is a very serious business. There are a few different technologies that come into play and make it easier but you must be familiar with where to go and the best exit to use if your building was to catch fire.
Smoke Control Systems
There are several methods of controlling smoke in a building should a fire break out. Engineer smoke control systems are designed to remove as much smoke as possible so that people can exit the building without being in danger. The most common of this is a positive pressure system that forces the smoke out a vent in the roof of the building.
The pressure inside the building is just slightly higher than that outside, so the smoke naturally wants to flow out toward the low-pressure environment. Removing smoke this was can make it harder for the firefighters to determine where the fire started but getting your workers and coworkers out of the building is the most important part.
Sprinkler Systems and Smoke
In most commercial buildings, a sprinkler system is a requirement. Again, this goes make to controlling the fire, the smoke, and making it easier to get people out to safety. The sprinkler systems come on when a specific temperature is reached in the room, and they lay down a large amount of water that not only knocks down the fire, it creates a pattern of air movement that pushes the smoke toward the top of the room. It can then be vented through roof vents in the ceiling.
Venting The Stairwells
Stairwells act like a natural chimney in most buildings. If you use the proper doors at the bottom of the stairwell to close it down and then pressurize it with a fan. The smoke is then forced out the top of the building so that the stairs remain clear of smoke and people can use them to exit the building.
You can use sprinklers in the stairwell but keep in mind that the stairs are going to become very slippery once they are wet. Controlling the smoke is just one way to stay safe in a fire situation using these systems. Getting the smoke and heat from the building makes rescuing people easier and allows many to make there way out without assistance.
For more information, contact your local smoke control system design service.