Smoke and fire barriers a key aspect of senior-living fire defense

Posted 4 March 2015 12:00 AM by Evan Bane

The recent headline out of San Antonio was grim: Five die in senior living high-rise fire. The three-alarm blaze started on the third floor of an 11-story apartment building, and took 150 firefighters from 6 departments to control. Ten other residents were injured. Evacuating residents in the late December chill was problematic as well.

This fire and others were mentioned in a recent article titled, “6 Layers of Defense Against Fires in Senior Living.” What caught our attention was Layer #2 – Construct smoke and fire barriers, which highlights the need to break a building into “compartments” to contain fire and smoke within the compartment and slow its spread.

“For nursing homes and higher-acuity assisted living [communities], it’s dangerous to evacuate residents outside in inclement weather,” said Mark Warrick, who leads the Austin, Texas-based firm Pi Architects. “It’s much safer to have a ‘defend in place’ methodology, and that’s where the smoke walls and fire walls come into play. You can take residents from one compartment to another and the fire and smoke are contained.”

Link to full article from Senior Housing News.


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