How Smoke Vents Work

How Smoke Vents Work

Access Doors and Panels on 6th Feb 2018

How Smoke Vents Work

The safety of your home or commercial building is paramount. Whether you are housing your family, employees or product, keeping the contents of your building safe in the event of a fire is imperative. While smoke alarms will notify you in the event of a fire, smoke vents can help to mitigate damages.

So what exactly is a smoke vent? Essentially it is a planned exit route for smoke. When a fire burns, smoke is created and builds as the fire burns. The smoke is extremely dangerous to people because it limits sight and the ability to breathe. When a smoke vent is opened it pulls the smoke out of the building, giving people more time to exit the building safely. Be aware – this is not the same as opening a window. Some people believe that opening windows during a fire will help to draw the smoke out. This is in fact very dangerous because the oxygen allowed in through the windows will feed the fire. Windows should only be opened if they are your escape route. The smoke vent is unlike a window in that it is a one-way corridor. It gets the smoke out without letting oxygen back in.

Now that we know what a smoke vent is, how exactly does it work? There are 3 different ways a smoke vent can be engaged – manually, through a fusible link, or electronically. The manual version is opened externally, meaning it does not get opened while inside the building while the fire is burning. It is opened at a designated spot outside by pulling the external release handles. Different buildings may have different methods to operate these handles, be sure to familiarize yourself with how your specific handles work. The fusible link vent is opened automatically in the event of a fire. The link burns when the fire heats it up. Once hot enough, the link breaks and the vent opens. Finally, there is an electronic version of the smoke vent. These are controlled remotely and can be a good option if you have several vents in your building. They can be opened simultaneously in a large scale fire instead of having to wait for links to burn or until someone can reach the manual vent. No matter the style you choose – smoke vents are a necessity and their operations should be taken seriously.

The benefits of smoke vents are also important factors when deciding to have them installed. Firstly, as earlier mentioned, smoke vents help the ease of evacuation. When smoke is vented, it can significantly reduce smoke inhalation for those trying to escape the burning building. Because there will be less smoke, the evacuees will also be able to find the exit more quickly, which could obviously reduce causalities and injuries. Secondly, the less smoke in the building makes it easier for fire fighters to do their work. While they are trained to work in smoke filled buildings the vented smoke will allow them to work faster and more efficiently. An added benefit is that the vents will give visual direction as to where the fire started, making it easier for the fire fighters to douse the heart of the flame. Finally, getting the smoke out can also reduce the damage to the building itself and the physical contents. Again, since the fire fighters can work faster they can save a greater number of your assets.

Smoke vents can be an essential part of the safety of your business or home. While we hope that nothing happens to our buildings, the reality is we need to be prepared for the worst. Making sure you have smoke vents, that they operate correctly and that key staff know how to engage them is crucial to your safety plan. Be proactive in fire safety - your business and your personnel are worth it.

Contractor for a commercial or residential? Looking to install a smoke vent? Consider a checking out Access Doors and Panels – here you can find an array of access panels more specifically we have an array of smoke vents to suit your needs! From an aluminum smoke vent to an insulated access panel – no matter what the type, Access Doors and Panels is sure to have what you need in stock. 

6th Feb 2018 Access Doors and Panels