Smoke Baffles Add Protection to Your Buildings


Most people have heard the expression that smoke is more dangerous than fire, and this is one instance where an oft-repeated saying is actually true. Smoke from a fire can be significantly more deadly and causes more damage in a building fire than the fire itself. 

When a fire breaks out in a commercial building, there are a number of items that may combust. Today’s buildings are filled with items made or finished with various types of plastics and other compounds and chemicals. When these burn, they give off numerous toxins that can be hazardous to anyone who breathes them. 

As the fire begins to consume oxygen, these chemicals release carbon dioxide, but they also contain more deadly compounds like cyanide, which means that the person who breathes in the smoke will be unable to process or use any oxygen that may still be available. 

Most buildings are equipped with fire suppression systems meant to help stop the spread of flames and minimize the damage they can do. But fire suppression systems may not stop the spread of smoke, and they may not always reach the places where smoke and flames are likely to travel, such as inside vents and walls.

That’s why adding smoke baffles to your building design can add another layer of protection to your building’s occupants, and can help prevent some of the damage that smoke can do to your building as well.

What Are Smoke Baffles?

Also known as smoke curtains and draft curtains, a smoke baffle is used to contain and direct smoke. They’re typically installed at the tops of stairways, atriums and other open or high-ceilinged areas. The purpose of smoke baffles is to contain smoke during a building fire and prevent the smoke from spreading to other areas.

Smoke baffles must be flame- and fire-resistant for a minimum of one hour and can help give building occupants time to exit a building during a fire. They can also help reduce damage to the building, and they work with your other fire suppression systems.

Smoke Baffle Benefits

With smoke baffles, you gain several benefits that fire suppression systems alone can’t offer. 

Increased Ventilation


Most buildings utilize ventilation to help clear an area of smoke. This is designed to help funnel the smoke out of the building and away from people and sensitive equipment. On their own, however, ventilation systems may not be very effective. When smoke is traveling throughout a building, part of it will be sucked out by the vents, but the rest will continue to circulate within the building.

With a smoke baffle, the smoke can’t leave the vicinity of the vents once it gets trapped in that area. This means that your ventilation system is now more effective at ridding the building of the toxic smoke before it can cause harm to the building’s occupants and do damage to the property. 

Decreased Building Damage

Flames and fire do a lot of damage to a building, but smoke can potentially do even more. When items combust, the smoke that’s released may travel to other areas of the building and leave behind a residue on walls, floors, ceilings and furnishings, which can cause discoloration and odor. 

Some materials that have been exposed to smoke will actually continue to discolor or deteriorate long after the fire is out. And because smoke can travel to areas of a building that the flames may not have reached, the damage from the smoke may actually be more pervasive than actual fire damage.

Smoke baffles help direct and contain smoke, and as such, limit the materials that the smoke comes in contact with. This, in turn, means that after the fire is out, there’s less need for restoration and repair, and you can get your business back up and running again more quickly for less money. 

Decreased Health Risks

Smoke kills more people than the flames themselves. During a fire, people may become disoriented or panicked, increasing the amount of time they spend in the building and exposing them to more risks. 

Smoke baffles are most often installed above open stairwells, atriums and other areas with high ceilings. Stairwells, in particular, may be areas where building occupants travel to during a fire in their attempts to exit the building. If the stairwell is filled with smoke, occupants may try to find another exit route. Or, they may attempt to use the stairs anyway, exposing themselves to the carbon dioxide, cyanide and other toxic compounds that the smoke contains.

When a smoke baffle is used, these areas become safer for the building occupants as they attempt to exit. The smoke is contained away from escape routes, helping keep occupants from the danger of smoke exposure. 

Part of a Full Fire and Smoke Protection System


There are many great products and materials on the market today that you can use to protect your building and its occupants in the event of a fire. These include not only fire suppression systems, such as sprinklers and ventilation systems, but also containment systems. 

Smoke baffles can be used in conjunction with smoke curtains throughout the building. Smoke curtains are installed over elevators, stairwells and across atrium ceilings to help keep smoke and flames from traveling farther. Many of these systems are meant to deploy automatically during a fire; they sit discreetly out of sight — ready for use at all times. 

As part of a full fire protection plan, smoke curtains and smoke baffles reduce the loss of life and the expenses that come in the aftermath of a fire, when renovation, cleaning and replacement are necessary. The key is to use these items together in strategic areas around the building. 

Smoke is known to travel in specific patterns, seeking elevator shafts, vents and tall ceilings to escape to. By utilizing fire and smoke containment in these areas, you can help stop the spread of both, reducing damage and making the suppression of the fire and the final cleanup easier, faster and less costly.

Get Added Protection by Utilizing Smoke Baffles

Smoke baffles are frequently required as part of the building code in certain regions. They’re used as a means of preventing loss of life during a fire by smoke inhalation. They can also help reduce the damage to your building and aid in getting the smoke and fire out faster. Most smoke baffles are installed discreetly and blend in with your building’s architecture, so you can get the safety you need without sacrificing the style or appearance of the building’s design. 

Visit Smoke Guard’s website to learn about their products and how they can help you reduce the damage to your building in the event of a fire and add much-needed protection to all areas of your building with smoke baffles.