According to the Kent Fire and Rescue services, it is not the flames or heat of fires within homes and workplaces that cause the most damage but is the toxic fumes that we inhale when trying to escape which accounts for the highest the number of human casualties. Smoke inhalation is extremely damaging and, unfortunately, only takes a few moments to take effect, giving little time to get to safety – especially when in a building without good smoke ventilation.
How does smoke harm us?
The smoke excreted from fires is a toxic mix of carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide and hydrogen sulphide, which can restrict air supply to the body. The chemicals literally poison the body making the cells dysfunctional – resulting in lack of oxygen being taken in by the body. The sulphur and chlorine fumes, restrict the airways and cause the lungs to fill with mucus making it extremely difficult to breathe. The poisonous gases also desensitise the body, making it extremely difficult to fight the battle against smoke.
This could be costly when trying to flee a fire as smoke can fill a room in a matter of minutes not only making it difficult to see an available escape route but immediately taking effect on the body’s ability to function and with that the ability to try and escape!
With smoke from a fire needing just a few moments to have such devastating effects, any preventative methods should be considered as a lifesaving option – quite literally. Smoke ventilation systems could help to extract harmful smoke from a fire, giving anyone in direct contact a little extra time to get out to safety. These smoke ventilation systems are usually fan assisted, like those supplied by Fire Design Solutions, which can dissipate the white blanket mass that can quickly fill a room. Such smoke ventilation systems work simply by removing the toxic air through vents into the external atmosphere. Fans can aid this by effectively pushing the toxic air through building vents, giving anyone caught in a fire a little extra time to find their escape.
To find our more information on these potentially lifesaving ventilation systems, please speak to a member of the Fire Design Solutions team by calling 01322 387411.