You may be surprised to find out that in a fire, you are likely going to have more problems with smoke than you do with the actual flames. Smoke can move better than the flames can, and many things can produce toxic fumes while they are burning, which can cause the smoke to be even more problematic than it would otherwise be. That means that in a fire in a large building that may take a while to clear, there has to be some way to protect the people who are either evacuating out of the building or who are sheltering in place somewhere safe until they can either be rescued or the fire is put out. That's where smoke control systems come into play.
Smoke Control Systems
Smoke control systems are part of a building's HVAC system and part of its fire control system. They are designed to move the smoke around into areas where there won't be people it could hurt. There are different kinds of fire control systems, and they work with various kinds of smoke control systems in different ways.
Passive Control Systems
A passive system is exactly that, a system that does nothing but sit around, but is set up so that it can somehow direct the smoke and fire towards places it can be handled easily and away from places where people need to escape or be safe. There are a variety of parts that go into a passive fire and smoke control system. For example, a passive system can include things like fire doors and special walls. The doors and the walls can keep the fire from jumping to one place to another. The passive system can also include vents which are designed to pull smoke up and away from living areas, just by the way the air currents move around them.
Active Control Systems
Active control systems are going to do something when it comes to the fire. For example, the fire alarms will go off, the sprinkler systems will start, and special fans will turn on that will draw the smoke away from populated areas, safe rooms, and stairwells. The active system may also make sure that stairwells are pressurized so that the smoke can't get into them so that people can use them to escape.
Smoke control system testing is important to make sure that people can get out of the building as safely as possible.