Smoke Stratification - A Matter of Height

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IS YOUR FIRE DETECTION SYSTEM USELESS?

THE OVERLOOKED DANGER in Waste Recycling, Logistics, Manufacturing…. and many other industry sectors THAT OPERATES OUT OF HIGH-ROOFED BUILDINGS.

You may have invested in the best smoke detection system money can buy… but it’s totally ineffective if the smoke can’t actually reach it.

Do you have a high-roofed building of over 8 meters? If so, you need to ensure your fire detection system is fit for purpose, because of a hidden danger known as ‘Smoke Stratification’.

Smoke Stratification is a phenomenon that occurs in high-level buildings typical to the waste industry, when rising heat collects in the roof void, creating a layer of air substantially warmer than that beneath. Smoke requires substantial energy to ‘punch’ through this warm layer of air. This means that, in the early stages of a fire, the smoke is too cool to rise through the layer and therefore levels out.

real setting smoke stratification

STUDIES SHOW THAT THE FIRST 3 MINUTES OF FIRE ARE THE MOST CRITICAL, SO BY THE TIME EVEN AN ASPIRATING SYSTEM HAS DETECTED THE SMOKE, THERE IS AN INFERNO RAGING BELOW

Studies show that the first 3-5 minutes of a fire are often the most critical. This poses a particular problem to waste management operators, due to the flammable material being processed. If the fire is lefty to develop to sufficient intensity, causing the smoke to force its way through the thermal “layer” to the ceiling-mounted detectors, there could well be an inferno raging below before anything at all is detected.

Suitable detection methods are clearly critical for this high-risk industry, especially in order to counter the effects of smoke stratification and detect fires early in such cases.

We undertook live tests in a typical high-roofed building (roof height 12m), comparing the Araani SmokeCatcher Video Smoke Detection System to a number of ceiling mounted smoke detection systems, including:

  • Point-type smoke detectors.
  • Beam Detectors.
  • Aspirating Detection (HSSD).

In the live tests, the effects of smoke stratification were made clear. Not one of the ceiling mounted smoke detection systems detected anything, whereas the SmokeCatcher Video system activated in just 15 seconds.

The tests highlight the fact that many of the systems fitted to waste recycling facilities are simply not effective enough for the industry and the high fire threat level it faces.

In conclusion, Smoke Stratification – although little known – is one of the greatest obstacles to successful fire detection in waste management and a Video Smoke detection system provides an excellent solution to the problem.

If you’d like to know more about stratification and how your business can overcome it, give us a call on 01234 357357 and we’ll book in a no-obligation chat.

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