System for Automatic Ventilation
A proposed system for automatic ventilation of a burning structure will be of interest to fire department officials who are currently reviewing the articles on ventilation appearing in this Journal.
The inventor, Tom Harding, an architect of Little Rock, Ark., claims for his system that it is a simple, inexpensive and automatic means of clearing an involved area immediately at the beginning of a fire, thereby preventing suffocation, while controlling fire travel, mushrooming, and furthering fire extinguishing operations.
The system, (see accompanying diagram) is primarily an automatic arrangement, and is especially intended for installation in basements and buildings without outside openings. It’s major objective is to prevent smoke and gases from entering adjoining rooms and corridors, by channeling the discharge of the contaminated atmospheres to an outside stack without inconveniencing occupants, and permitting them easy safe access to elevators or stairways.
As shown in the diagram, a duct is carried through the corridor which becomes, in action, a “ventilator.” The system operates immediately at the beginning of a fire and is actuated by rateof-rise unit in the area. This, in turn, causes a shutter to be opened when released by the bi-metal detector, or fusible link. An electric-eye may be used in connection with activating mechanism if desired. Forced draft also may be provided by locating a protected motor high in the stack.
A shutter is placed in each area or room, at a point farthest from the door entrance to the area, in order to keep firemen out of the line of discharge, which is to be at the ceiling line on the corridor wall. When the shutter opens as a result of rapid temperature increase, the discharge is taken to the stack by way of the duct and on out to the open air. Shutters are provided for all rooms and corridors.
The duct is to be unobstructed to prevent “build-up” inside it and naturally must he tight to prevent spread of fire by leakage. The duct itself is formed by the corridor walls at the side, by the slab above at the top, and by a backplastered lath and plaster suspended ceiling for the lower side. Shutters are to be insulated and the assembly connected to an approved type fire alarm system.
His product, the designer states, is not intended to compete with a sprinkler system. It may well be used with fog. Fassage doors are to be the self-closing type. All items used in construction must meet the Underwriters specifications.
The system may be used in private dwellings, convalescent and nursing homes and the like, with suitable modifications, such as the use of plywood and fireproof paint, which would retard burning until the building is vacated.
According to the designer, many changes may be made without departing from the spirit of his invention, or affecting his patent.