Large fires will produce a number of compounds due to rapid oxidization or combustion – most notably, carbon monoxide. CO gases will eventually interfere with the body’s natural functions, inhibiting the ability to deliver much needed oxygen to muscles, organs, and brain. The inhalation of CO over a long period of time can cause a variety of symptoms such as coughing, chest pain, headache, reduced mental cognition, and eventually death. However, the most jarring statistic to know is smoke inhalation is the number one cause of death in fires. NFPA research data shows just over 75% of all fire related deaths are attributed to smoke inhalation and are not burn related. The potential for large loss of life due to smoke from fires is the primary reason why properly designed and installed smoke control systems are an important element of every comprehensive life safety solution.
Proper smoke control requires a combination of electrical, mechanical and physical elements engineered to reduce the spread of smoke in a building allowing for safe predetermined evacuation paths for all occupants. The system is comprised of supply and exhaust fans, compartmentation dampers, and physical barriers along with electronic monitoring and control devices throughout the facility. When designed properly to meet code requirements and listing agency criteria, the system will inhibit smoke from entering stairwells and paths of egress providing a tenable space to evacuees. These systems are code mandated based on building classification and occupancy type. All responsible parties including the owner of the building, architects, engineers and AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction) take an active role in the design and proper implementation of the smoke control system.
All of the components that make up the smoke control system are required to be UL listed for their intended use. UL864, UL555 and UL705/762 are three of the most common UL listing criteria by which the individual equipment must be tested. Each UL listing number may have several sub-categories such as UUKL, UOXX or UOJZ. It’s these sub-categories that further define the specific equipment’s operational integrity in extreme conditions.
For example, equipment that has received the UL864 UUKL listing (such as a Fire Alarm Control Panel (FACP) designed to initiate the predetermined smoke control sequence of operation) has been tested to ensure that it will be reliable for proper operation in extreme conditions using the exact construction methods and materials for every project. Installing listed equipment gives property owners the legal protections and code compliance that their building inhabitants expect and deserve.
But how do you check to make sure their equipment is code compliant?
The UL website provides free information about the manufacturer’s listings. Let’s use a Firefighters Smoke Control Station (FSCS) as an example. This station provides authorized emergency personnel a holistic view of the entire facility and allows for total control and monitoring of the entire smoke control system in an emergency. By visiting this page, you can search the UL database for every UUKL listed FSCS by using the manufacturer name and UUKL category code fields. The results will give you, in a table form, all the products listed for that category.
Next, let’s learn how to interpret the listing card and verify that the equipment specified and being provided has the correct listing. Below are a few screenshots of what you should be looking for during this research and verification phase. Be sure not to rely on catalog sheets or manufacturer websites for compliance; UUKL can apply to multiple applications so the information can be misleading. Only the listing cards at UL verify the actual listed equipment and its part numbers.
When looking at the listings, note the difference between the category name having dashes between words or not having dashes. The names WITHOUT dashes will take you to a UUKL listed FSCS.
If you select the UUKL S24808 listing, make sure to note the title does not have dashes between words.This designates the listing sheet for the FSCS, and all UUKL listed smoke control equipment is itemized on the card.
Here’s another example:
The next example is UUKL listed for smoke control system equipment, but NOT UUKL listed for an FSCS. Notice the category name is written differently and designates “graphic and directory annunciators.”
This similar listing shows it is only listed for smoke control equipment, and does not constitute compliance with an FSCS.
UUKL FSCS labels must be factory supplied to a fully assembled unit per the UL criteria and may include installation of control system driver boards.
Below is an example of a label on smoke control listed equipment, but not UUKL listed for an FSCS.
Safety is our number one goal at Space Age Electronics, and is one of the main pillars on which we’ve built our No Excuses reputation. We’re dedicated to putting the best equipment into our smoke control panels, making sure each is properly listed to maintain the integrity of your life safety system and keep your building occupants safe. Contact us for your next smoke control project and we’ll utilize our cutting-edge products and top industry knowledge to deliver the perfect code-compliant solution specially tailored for every complex requirement of your job.
Michael Ventola and Dan Quin contributed to this blog post