Air Conditioning a Fire Hazard
Sherman V. Coultas, State Fire Marshal, told the Illinois Fire College at its opening session at the University of Illinois at Urbana that air conditioning has introduced a new problem of fire control.
“Since the ducts of these systems pass through walls and floors, they can destroy the protection of fireproof partitions and spread Are throughout a building unless proper safeguards are provided,” he said. “Ducts should be incombustible. There should be a damper, which will close automatically in case of fire, at each point where a duct pierces a floor or partition and at each connection to a main vertical duct serving several floors. Fans should have an automatic shutdown under fire conditions. as well as an accessibly located manual shutdown. Other danger points are the use of combustible linings in ducts, combustible filters or combustible oil coatings ori incombustible filters, and some electrical equipment with the usual hazards, all of which have shown up in the fire record.”
Speaking on “What Executives Should Know About Fire Prevention,” Mr. Coultas said that losses of consequence today are seldom if ever due to unpredictable situations and that reasonable security against large loss is assured to the executive who is willing to carry out a well rounded program of fire prevention and fire protection. Such a program, he said, pays dividends in insurance savings, often reduces operating costs because of improvements, and avoids the heavy loss and disruption of business which always follows a sweeping fire.
The Fire Marshal urged proper control of hazards to prevent fire, fireproof construction and cutoffs to confine fire to section in which it originates, automatic extinguishing equipment to quench the blaze while small and automatic alarm to call the Fire Department.