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How To Keep Smoke Control Systems Working Their Best

A smoke control system, designed to clear out as much smoke as possible in the event of a fire, is a critical part of the safety setup of a building. If you already have one in place, you'll likely want to see that it will be in top operating condition. With the assistance of a smoke control testing firm, you can see that your setup will provide peak performance.

Understanding the Design

Before you attempt any tests, you need to be clear about where any signals from the test are likely to go and inform everyone of when the test will be occurring and when they'll be given the all-clear. The majority of systems are designed to send signals to a fire alarm monitoring company or an in-building system, but some systems, especially ones at sites with sensitive materials or dangerous chemicals, do send notifications directly to the nearest fire department.

If you're not sure how your unit is configured, it may be wise to ask a smoke control system testing technician to map the layout. You may need to do so if you've recently purchased a building and cannot get in touch with the original installer or the system's manufacturer. It is common for part or even all of an older structure's smoke control configuration to be non-functioning or malfunctioning.

What Matters

By far, the biggest concern about a smoke control system is how much bad air it can actually push out of a space in a given time. This is all dependent on the total volume of the space, and a technician can give you a better estimate of what your site will require. The design of a system will also pose unique challenges, as buildings may employ an array of technologies, including fans and natural airflow dynamics.

Pressurization also counts for a lot during fires in buildings. By keeping elevator shafts and stairwells pressurized, a system can provide escape routes to occupants. Smoke refuge areas should also be designated and pressurized. Smoke control testing of these spots in a structure is essential to improving survival probabilities.

Who to Talk With

Your smoke control system testing project should be managed by a professional who has a background in fire protection engineering. If possible, try to get in touch with the original designer who was commissioned to put in the setup. A code enforcement officer should also be contacted.