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The aim of a smoke ventilation system is to release heat and smoke from a building under fire conditions.
Smoke and Heat Exhaust Ventilation Systems (SHEVS) ensure that hot gases are constantly removed during a fire. By using the correct size and number of ventilators, in the early stages of a fire, a clear layer of pre-determined depth can be maintained above floor level and dangerous smoke logging prevented.
By restricting smoke logging during a fire, occupants have more time in which to escape and fire fighters are allowed to enter the building and quickly locate the source, unimpeded by smoke and toxic gases. Fire fighting facilities can then be more accurately applied, thus minimising water damage to the contents of the building, and ensuring that the fire is extinguished as quickly as possible after its outbreak.
It is sometimes essential to compartment the area to minimise the smoke travel to adjacent areas. This is easily achieved using a fire resistant fabric curtain suspended from the roof structure.
Ventilator controls can be linked directly to the main smoke detection system or may be dual purpose so that they can also be used for day to day ventilation.
The emphasis above is on the protection of life and property. the design of both equipment and scheme must be such that they will function satisfactorily in an emergency, at any time and under any conditions.