Statistics show that 90 percent of fire related fatalities are dued to smoke poisoning from fires within buildings. The significance of smoke vents and SHEV systems, for that reason, can not be undervalued.
The principal objective of SHEV systems is to lead smoke and heat out of burning buildings, all whilst staying escape corridors and stairs without smoke. This is essential for the evacuation of occupants of the building, allowing them to exit whilst avoiding the dangerous smoke fumes coming from the fire.
Both natural and mechanical ventilation systems can be used as part of SHEV systems, with each one suited to a different kind of building. Natural smoke ventilation relies upon the buoyancy of hot gases, and uses automatically-opened vents to draw rising smoke, heat and risky gases off out into the open naturally.
Upon detection of smoke, these AOVs will open automatically through electric actuators (motors) or magnetic locks. Firefighters are given the ability to override this system at various manual call points placed throughout the building. A system such as this will be linked to a central control panel as well as a battery backup, guaranteeing that the SHEV will work even if the mains supply fails.
There are a number of different possible locations for automatic opening smoke vents, including: the automatic opening vinyl window, which releases smoke into the atmosphere; the smoke shaft and AOV, where smoke flows through a vinyl window or door to the vent and afterwards out into the atmosphere; and the stairwell AOV, where smoke flows though an AOV at the top of a stairwell.
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