With most of the residential buildings coming up in the region, particularly in the UAE, being more than 15 storeys high, it is vital that adequate fire protection systems are installed to ensure the safety of residents and the integrity of such structures in the event of a fire, states Dubai-based Geze Middle East, a market leader in system technologies for smart buildings.
“Today’s high-tech buildings have placed increased demands on fire protection systems, which play a crucial role in saving lives and in preserving the structure,” says Hisham Al Sergany, Geze Middle East’s marketing manager. “Hence, it is important that buildings are constructed and maintained keeping in mind the outbreak and spread of fires.”
“One must not wait until a serious incident takes place before corrective actions are adopted,” he adds.
“DIN EN 4102 part 5 states clearly the behaviour of building materials and components. Since almost 90 per cent of all fire victims are killed primarily by smoke poisoning, smoke and heat ventilation systems have become an indispensable part of fire protection strategies. By law, the architect/planner is liable for ensuring the technical correctness of a smoke ventilation system.”
Figure 1 shows the relationship between smoke/temperature and time. It is clear that it takes only 15 minutes from the inception of any fire to have the room filled with smoke and then get engulfed in flames.
Elaborating on the role played by fire protective systems, a spokesman for Geze Middle East says: “Fire protection barriers, which include automatically closing doors and other barriers (hinged shutters, roller shutters, gates, etc), are intended to prevent fire from passing through openings in walls or ceilings.
“Doors must close to stop the spread of fire in a building, while windows should open to let the smoke out, giving residents more time to evacuate and allowing fire-fighters to see their way to the source of fire.”
Geze’s door system is the core product in its entire range which offers planners, architects and installers a vast variety of products including door closing systems, escape route and safety systems and fire prevention systems.
Geze door automation drive systems, designed for a variety of door types, offer planners a number of solutions. These include sliding, swing, revolving door drives and carousel, flexible, telescopic and purpose-made door installations. Among the most popular in the company’s range is a specialised door closing system which features an electromagnetic system that closes the doors automatically, creating fire zones to stop the spread of fire.
He continues: “Every standard building must have a smoke vent at least at the staircases and at the lift wells while in public buildings such as shopping malls, commercial, health or educational buildings, there should be a smoke vent system at skylights covering public “free” areas. In many GCC countries, civil defence regulations call for at least 10 per cent of the external openings to be automatically operable in case of fire. Figure 2 shows a typical application in staircases.
“Smoke, combustion gases and heat spread faster than the fire itself and always rise to the top. Strategically-placed smoke and heat extractor systems minimise the chances of fatalities and injuries caused by smoke inhalation and suffocation,” he explains. “Based on the principle of convection, smoke and heat is guided out via extractor windows that open automatically, letting fresh air flow in underneath, and thus creating a smoke-free layer under the cushion of smoke,” he adds.
Geze Middle East offers a wide variety of fire prevention and containment systems that ensure the safety of residents and give them sufficient time to evacuate in the event of a fire.
The company’s smoke and heat extraction systems are already at work at Dubai’s Reef Mall securing the massive glass dome and mega entrance from spread of fire.
“A number of smart buildings are benefiting from our systems which help in the containment of fire, and thus saving life and property,” Sergany concludes.