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Natural Ventilation

Last updated: December 15, 2019

What Does Natural Ventilation Mean?

Natural ventilation pertains to sources of atmospheric air and wind pressure that reach the interior of a building, helping to minimize fire damage or put out a fire. It plays an integral role in the expulsion of flames, smoke, and heat from within a burning building, allowing firefighting professionals significantly unobstructed access to individuals trapped inside.

The term covers the correct placement of doors, windows, and even outlets in the roof to facilitate the outflow of smoke and fire in a burning building. Ventilation can be horizontal or vertical, and both forms of natural ventilation could have an impact on a raging fire.

Safeopedia Explains Natural Ventilation

A source of ventilation within a burning building is instrumental in ensuring that excessive smoke buildup does not lead to potential smoke explosions. On the contrary, incorrect ventilation placement or even incorrect timing for ventilation may further aggravate a fire by feeding the flames with a source of air supply.

OSHA recognizes the importance of ventilation and recommends workplace guidelines emphasizing the implementation of ventilation tactics to ensure minimal structural damage and injury to personnel within a burning building. Section 3, Chapter 3 of OSHA’s Technical Manual tackles the subject of ventilation in commercial and industrial buildings.

As such, it is up to employers to ensure that work spaces are designed with an understanding of ventilation placement. This precautionary measure can save the lives of workers and prevent extensive fire damage.


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