After the serious fire that hit a mall in northern Italy, we think it’s a good time to talk about fire protection in shopping malls. There are many passive fire protection solutions that can help to prevent such a destruction.
A good design of the ventilation and smoke extraction system should be able to maintain free of smoke all the escape routes in case of fire in order to allow the evacuation of people with the minimum risk of gas inhalation and other physical damages. This is the basic objective according to the Technical Building Code regarding safety in case of fire.
Furthermore, a correct sizing of the smoke control system in a mall avoid structural damages to the building because it also controls the temperature of the hot gases accumulated under the cover (smoke deposits). The temperatures of the hot combustion gases should always be below 550ºC in order to avoid the collapse of the building. Also, the design temperature of the gases in these deposits should not exceed 200 ° C when people escape routes goes under them.
Another important factor is that the release of the smoke from fire enables safer access for firefighting brigades, who will find an atmosphere with a better visibility and more breathable to work better. Therefore, we can conclude that the smoke control systems in malls has three main objectives: the release of combustion gases in escape routes, the structural defense of the building and the making easier the fires extinctions and the people rescue.