Smoke propagation in residential buildings
"As long as sofas and mattresses will produce an extensive amount of smoke, every individual fire safety measure will be insufficiently effective to reduce smoke propagation. The combination of limiting the use of synthetic materials (especially foams) in furnishing and closing the doors is the most effective combination of fire safety measures", according to researchers of the Fire Service Academy of the Institute for Safety. The English version of the report Smoke propagation in residential buildings is now available.
In the summer of 2019, the Fire Service Academy, the Organisation of Dutch Fire Services and the Utrecht Safety Region conducted 19 fire tests in a former residential care complex with internal corridors in Oudewater. The analysis of the data resulted in important conclusions.
Smoke propagates rapidly through the residential building and smoke propagation is an unpredictable phenomenon, particularly at greater distances from the fire room. The fact that not all smoke is visible adds to the difficulty of estimating the severity and extent of the smoke propagation.
Smoke propagation in a residential building rapidly decreases the possibility of escape and survivability of the occupants.
Only a combination of source and effect measures will be effective to sufficiently improve the possibility of escape and survivability of the occupants. The combination of limiting the use of synthetic materials in the furnishing and closing the doors is the most effective measure, followed by the combination of a mobile water mist and closing the doors.
Besides fighting the fire, the goal of the fire service deployment should be to reduce further smoke propagation as much as possible. The situation of the door to the fire room is decisive in determining which deployment method should be used.
However, every fire service action will cause more smoke propagation, both horizontally and vertically. Here, mechanical ventilation has a dominant influence.
Please notice that the graphs in appendix 16 and 21 are not translated to English. These graphs can be read using the documents named 'Key appendix 16' and 'Key appendix 21', where you will find an English translation of the Dutch words.