The Use of Positive Pressure Ventilation Fans During Firefighting Operations in Underground Stations: An Experimental Study

Karel Lambert, Bart Merci, Stephen Welch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Positive pressure ventilation (PPV) fans are widely used by the fire service during firefighting operations in buildings. Fans are positioned to create a flow through the enclosure. This flow can remove the smoke after the fire or affect the direction of the smoke to support firefighting operations. In subway stations, it is less common to use PPV fans. Here, 106 full-scale tests with up to four fans have been performed in a training building that represents a subway station. The fans were used as extraction fans. The generated flow through the subway station has been measured. The critical velocity for a hypothetical tunnel (W × H: 3.17 × 4.15 m) attached to the subway station has been calculated as 2.37 m/s. Reaching the critical velocity has been used as criterion for ‘success’. All combinations with four fans exceed this velocity, supporting the idea that the fans could be used to facilitate a firefighting operation. The location of the fans was varied. Combinations with three fans on the platform and one at the top of the staircase performed better than combinations with two fans on the platform, one on the landing and one at the top of the staircase. There is an optimum value for the distance between the fans on the platform and the first step of the staircase. This value depends on the angle of inclination of the fans. The fans were not capable of creating a flow that exceeded the critical velocity in the station itself (L × W × H: 60 × 7.15 × 4.53 m). However, a velocity of 2.40 m/s corresponds to a flow rate that will limit the backlayering distance in the station to 15 m. This was only achieved by tests with four fans (three on the platform and one at the top of the staircase).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1
Number of pages23
JournalFire Technology
Early online date17 Jan 2018
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Jan 2018

Keywords

  • Positive pressure ventilation, PPV, Fire service intervention, Full-scale experiments, Subway stations

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