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Warringtonfire completes second smoke control study for Flemish Government

14 June 2022

WARRINGTONFIRE, THE specialist in fire testing, inspection and certification services, has completed the second instalment in a series of three studies commissioned by the Flemish Government that focus on fire safety issues in residential care buildings.

When asked about the goals of the second study, also referenced as the VIPA2 study, project manager Pieter Poppe stated: “We wanted to identify the effectiveness of smoke control measures by means of five large-scale fire tests and additional Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations as part of the evacuation strategy for non-self-reliant occupants in residential care buildings.”

The VIPA2 study led to new ways of considering fire safety for more vulnerable members of society, such as those citizens who reside within care facilities. Since common areas (eg kitchens) within these buildings can at present include combustible materials, a possible fire hazard is inherent in these evacuation routes. This risk is currently not considered within the concept of the current (Belgian) fire safety regulations.

Poppe continued: “The VIPA2 study has scientifically demonstrated the effectiveness of different kinds of applications of a smoke control system in a residential care building. This kind of smoke control system is not only limited to residential care buildings, but can also be applied to all types of structures with similar geometries. Such applications are not mentioned in any normative document related to smoke and heat exhaust ventilation systems and are therefore very innovative.”

VIPA3 study details

The latest research conducted and completed by Warringtonfire is now informing a third study, namely the VIPA3 study.

In the VIPA3 study, an assessment framework has been developed whereby minimum fire safety measures are determined as part of the evacuation strategy (ie immediate evacuation or ‘Defend in Place’) for the non-self-reliant occupants of a given residential care building.

“These fire safety measures can be active,” stated Poppe. “For example, residential smoke control systems, fire screens and automatic extinguishing. They can also be passive safety measures, such as fire resistant doors, smoke control doors and fire resistant dampers.”

The effectiveness of the applied fire safety measures has been demonstrated through large-scale fire tests and additional CFD simulations as described in the VIPA1 and VIPA2 studies.

Taken together, the trio of comprehensive studies will act as crucial stepping stones in creating a safer and more secure future for non-self-reliant individuals by potentially guiding future regulations.

*Further information concerning Warringtonfire is available online at www.warringtonfire.com