January 20, 2009InstructorAbstractIn this lab, we determined the principles that govern the formation of a smoke layer. In addition, we also determined how this smoke layer can be effectively restricted to prevent the loss of life through smoke. The fire ground demonstration was conducted to showcase how to react in event of a fire and also the type of fire/ smoke behaviour that would arise from the fire. The report concludes with observations and lessons attained from the demonstration as pertains to the use and installation of a smoke control system.
Introduction Fires in buildings are quite common all over the world and thus present a major problem to society. Prevention of fire spread and deaths as a result of the fire is thus of major concern to all. Architects, constructors, engineers and fire fighters all have to grapple with the problem of preventing the loss of life. Whereas many people tend to underestimate the effect of smoke on people, this is a major mistake. Research has shown that smoke is sometimes actually more dangerous than fire itself especially because it often contains very poisonous substances that kill almost instantaneously.
It is thus important to prevent the formation of a smoke layer as this accumulation will likely kill occupants in a building even if they are not actually burned by the fire. Principles Governing the Formation of a Smoke Layer and its ControlThe formation of a smoke layer during a fire is dangerous and when it does form, can lead to death of people caught up in the layer. It is thus important to be well- versed with how exactly the smoke layer is formed so as to prevent it from happening in the first place.
There are certain principles that govern the formation of a smoke layer and these include: the geometry, density, heat release and turbulence of the combustion materials that constitute the fire (Journal of Fire Sciences, 2007, p. 502). In addition, the room temperature and the amount of oxygen all also contribute towards the formation of a smoke layer. To control the formation and spread of a smoke layer is extremely necessary. This can be done by curbing the very principles that cause its formation.
Smoke progression is to a great extent determined by the composition of the burning material, the combustion temperature and the supply and concentration of oxygen (RWA Today, 2009). Therefore, for instance, once a fire has started, efforts should be made to ensure that there is plenty of oxygen in the space. Apart from opening the doors and windows, a space needs to be constructed in a manner that it is well- ventilated to begin with. This is where the construction of smoke and heat vents in all buildings comes in as a very necessary aspect of fire safety in buildings.
The main function of the vents is smoke/ fire control by releasing smoke and heat helping to reduce the fire load on building components. To be effective, the ventilation systems must be properly dimensioned and have well positioned inlet and exhaust ventilators which are correctly placed and installed within the building structure (RWA Today, 2009).