Importance of Installing Smoke Vents in Commercial Buildings

May 24, 2022

As the old saying goes, prevention is always better than cure, which is especially true in the construction industry. Architects and engineers incorporate materials or methods to enhance the establishment's quality, functionality, and safety when developing commercial buildings.

One of the most prevailing concerns in the industry is fire safety. Fire can be dangerous and devastating, but the smoke emitted by the fire is deadlier. Smoke causes more deaths than actual fire, partly because it reduces the amount of oxygen available in the air and releases toxic gases such as carbon monoxide.

In addition, hot air and smoke can build up inside a burning establishment, causing heat damage that leads to unwanted explosions. Because of this, smoke vents are now mandatory in all commercial buildings worldwide.

What are Smoke Vents?

Manufacturers designed smoke vents to allow smoke to exit the building during a fire. It effectively minimizes smoke inhalation and reduces the damage caused by the fire.

They help create an escape route for the building occupants as the vents release the smoke outside the building. Opening the windows will only release a small amount of the smoke, while the rest will go up the surface and spread until it consumes the entire building floor.

Here are some of the advantages of Installing Smoke Vents.

1. Increase Evacuation Time

The best way to escape when a fire breaks out inside the building is to crawl toward the fire exit. It is the most effective way of evacuating since smoke tends to float upwards, and smoke inhalation can be extremely harmful to your respiratory system.

While crawling can provide a way for people to escape the burning building, inhalation of smoke could still be hazardous to the occupants. However, installing smoke vents can create a breathable space inside the building by constantly releasing the thick smoke caused by the fire.

This will allow the area to have more visibility, making it easier and safer for people to get out of the establishment as earlier as possible. There are smoke vents that automatically open their doors when it detects a fire through its fusible link.

2. Provides a Clear Route for Firefighters

The firefighter's job is to prevent casualties and injuries and control the fire before it spreads and causes damage. When firefighters arrive at the site, they must have a clear pathway without the thick, black smoke, which may hinder their movements and visibility.

Since smoke vents help release the smoke outside the building, this will allow the firefighters to have a clear view of the scene and locate and control the fire.

3. Minimize Building Damages

Despite the dangers of fire incidents, many building owners are still not well aware of the importance of installing smoke vents. In addition to releasing the smoke during a fire, it can also help minimize the likelihood of spreading fire.

Firefighters will be able to control or stop the fire because of the smoke vent and reduce the structural damage to the building and other assets inside.

Once the smoke vent doors open, it creates a natural vacuum that sucks out the air from inside the building. Fire will not combust without oxygen, which helps demolish the flames faster. Opening the windows will not help and can even cause the smoke to spread around the room more quickly, blocking vision and making it hard for everyone else inside to breathe.

4. Releases Toxic Fumes

Once a fire burns any building material, it often releases black smoke that contains dangerous gases. One of the components of this smoke is carbon monoxide, which is a lethal compound, especially if the victim inhales a significant amount. Fire smoke often contains a host of other toxic gases like inorganic acids and hydrogen cyanide.

Exposure to these toxic compounds is the leading cause of fatalities in many fire incidents. If your commercial building does not have automatic smoke vents, smoke can quickly fill the whole area and suffocate everyone trapped inside.

In addition, during fires, it can emit potentially explosive fumes. Automatic smoke vents remove noxious and possibly combustible gases from the area, making the burning establishment safer for people and firefighters to travel in and out of the scene.

5. Protection Against Secondary Ignitions

High amounts of heat can trigger a secondary ignition in a fire situation, which can cause extensive damage to the rest of the building. You can resolve this by installing automatic smoke vents that allow the smoke and heat to escape the building, eradicating the buildup of extreme heat and helping to retain the fire from spreading from its original location.

6. Preventing Potential Casualties and Injuries

As a commercial building owner, the safety of the people must always be your priority. Installing products that prevent unwanted fires is one of the best things you can do for people to feel safe and confident, especially when they are at work.

Installing sprinklers around the building may not be enough in some cases. Smoke vents allow you and the people inside your building to have more chances of entering the establishment before the situation worsens.

The vent can help reduce casualties, but it is always best to train everyone on what to do in these situations because we can never tell how we can react in times of danger and crisis.

The Takeaway

There are different types of smoke vents you can choose from that will fit your commercial building type. When purchasing, the best thing you need to do is ask your contractor, engineer, or architect what type of smoke vent your establishment needs to enhance its safety measures. Search for known manufacturing companies that provide high-quality products so that your investment will help benefit you for a long time.

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