View Full Version : Manually operated smoke evacuation system??

09-09-2008, 11:05 AM
My fire marshal is requiring a "manually operated smoke evacuation system" in the space I am renting next year to be present above and beyond the present sprinkler system .What is he talking about?? Is this a modular system I can take with me or do I have to invest it into the building? Thanx Dave

09-09-2008, 11:31 PM
Whatever anyone tells you here, the correct answer should come from your Fire Marshal, coz he's the guy you have to please. And whatever he tells you, you should write it down and date it so he can't say he never said it later on when you're desperate for approval. That being said, it sounds like he wants some sort of manually switched fan system to suck out the smoke. (But that's only a semi-educated guess.) Call him and find out, but write down all the specifics. Fire folks don't seem to mind changing the goal posts on a whim, since they are not the ones who foot the bill.

Greg Chrise
09-10-2008, 08:17 PM
"manually operated smoke evacuation system"

What is this? A window? A garage door? A roof vent? Axes on hand to punch holes in the roof with a guy that can swing it sitting in a chair?

A fan connected to a bicycle like on Gilligan's Island?

09-11-2008, 07:54 AM
Exactly...Thats my question here. What are these guys asking for?? Does anyonelse have any ideas or heard of this being required before. Thanx Dave

Jim Warfield
09-11-2008, 07:59 AM
I would expect there would be some math to do as far as cfm of air moved as per square feet of space vented and of course the dollar signs frow as does the size of the equiptment.
Sounds like roof cutting, roof flashing, weather-proofing and of course electrical work too.

RJ Productions
09-11-2008, 08:47 AM
When you get strange requests from officials the best course is to politely ask them to provide you the related code or ordinance in writing that explains the request. Just because he "wants" such a system does not me one is REQUIRED. IF there is an actual ordinance it would state.. " a manual smoke evacuation system is required, consisting of...." If he can not produce documentation of the request, then you can politely state. "I'm sorry, but that is not a requirement of my permit."

I had a similar situation where an inspector showed up for my final and said he couldn't sign off because he wanted to see a full emergency evacuation performed by my actors. Seeing as this is 10 in the morning and actors weren't showing up until 4pm it created a problem. He reasoning was that he had viewed a drill at another haunt. I had to politely remind him that a drill was NOT part of any permit procedure. He had viewed it at another haunt because he was there at 4pm when actors were present. We had evacuation drills scheduled that evening. He was more that welcome to return on his OWN time (I was NOT paying overtime for him to come back) and view a drill. IF he had any other questions we could just contact his superior and clear things up. We passed the inspection, he never returned to view the drills...which we did do!

ALWAYS ask for documentation in writing when they have strange requests. They do not like to provide written verification that they can be held accountable for.

09-11-2008, 09:21 AM
I LOVE this forum. So much great ideas and friends. I am hoping at some point in the next few years to find a perminant location and if I do I know this topic or one similar will come up. You guys just gave me a tip to put into my memory if this topic ever comes up!!

Jim Warfield
09-11-2008, 09:29 AM
Talk about an added extra expense!
Buying a drill for each employee!
Let me guess, the inspector's brother-in-law owned the hardware store just down the block and had just gotten in a big shipment of drills.
Of course if the inspector was female and she asked to see your drill....

Uptown Haunts
09-13-2008, 06:19 AM
Back in my volunteer fire fighting days, we used "smoke ejectors" to clear out the smoke from a fire scene. These were basically oversized, high volume, portable electric fans which could be placed in an open window or suspended over an opening in a roof. Much like an exhaust fan you would use in your home, the smoke ejector pulls fresh outside air in and sends the smoke out of the building. Simple theory of displacement.

Smoke ejection is something I've considered for my haunt in the name of redundant safety. I'm considering a 'snorkel' system. Meaning; ducts, tubes or some other enclosed path that the smoke can take with the intake end at the highest point inside the haunt (because smoke/heat rise) and routed to the outside with the fan/ejector at the other end of the tube pulling the smoke out of the building. One problem with this configuration; flames can be fanned and follow the draft when air is pulled through any doorways, windows or other openings in the building which could actually make things worse than not using this setup at all. That's why I have not finalized the design. Still working on making it safe and not creating a whole, new problem because of the air flow feeding the flames.

Another form of smoke clearing which could work is crank up roof vents (usually referred to as 'gravity' vents) similar to what you see on RVs. The RV roof vents crank up to allow better ventilation than just opening windows but, they're usually only 14"x14" square and most do not utilize a fan although there are units with 12volt fans built right into them. Probably not enough air flow volume for this particular application but, something to think about.


09-13-2008, 10:08 AM
I don't know where to find it but someone on here had a similar problem a while back. The fire department worried about all the fog and wanted the haunter to set up fans and exhausts to blow the fog out and fresh air in if there were a fire. They changed their minds when the obvious was pointed out: Blowing fresh air in is the last thing you want in a fire.

Jim Warfield
09-13-2008, 10:24 AM
Even the gravity roof vents could really create a terrible situation in a fire.
I removed a cast iron, natural gas furnace, probably manufactured around 1965 that was built very solid, heavy but because the chimney had a tremendous natural draft it melted the cast iron gas burners and the cast iron "fingers" in the flue travel to pick up heat for the sections of the heat exchanger.
Ever watch how the old blacksmith made metal hotter? A bellows blowing more air into the coal fire.
I installed a small blower above where my fog machine worked to evacuate just the fog , once and awhile, if it built up to be too much. It was a one small room display.

09-17-2008, 11:01 PM
Thanx for the Great input. Dave

09-18-2008, 04:27 PM
We obtained a new 69,000 square ft. building to place a permanent haunt this year. Fully equipped with sprinklers systems and air in every inch of the building. We even have water at every air coupler. Anyhow, we got blasted on wed. by the fire dept. They want 3 laser smoke detectors. 11,000.00. Oh, well gotta do it!