Cooper Mechanical Services is known along the Grand Strand as a mechanical contractor specializing in HVAC and electrical, but one of our lesser known services is critical to Myrtle Beach's service industries. A stairwell pressurization test is a required component of building code and annual inspection designed to ensure safe stairwell evacuation in the case of an emergency. The National Fire Protection Association provides guidelines for stairwell pressurization systems to keep smoke and flames clear of stairwells so people can exit quickly and safely. The full code for all smoke control systems can be found in the NFPA 92 standards.
Stairwell pressurization is used in multi-floor commercial spaces all over Myrtle Beach. Hotels, hospitals, schools, and other buildings use air supply fans and stairwell pressurization systems to keep stair exits safe during a fire.
For example, let's assume there's a fire in a Myrtle Beach high-rise hotel that starts on the third floor. When the building's fire alarm system activates, guests on all floors will quickly exit the building, typically using the hotel stairwells.
What will happen to the smoke covering the 3rd floor when the stairwell doors are opened? If the stairwell is of equal or lesser pressure than the hallway, the smoke will quickly fill the stairwell. This makes safe exit difficult.
As a response, a stairwell pressurization system and supply fans create greater pressure in the stairwell than the inside of the building. The higher pressure "pushes" smoke back into the lesser pressurized hallway, allowing the stairway to be free of smoke.
Stairwell pressurization also make heavy stairwell doors easy to open. If not correctly pressurized, door can become hard to open.
NFPA 92 states that stairwells should be inspected and tested so they meet design objectives. Simply having a stairwell air supply fan is not enough. You need to know that the stairwell is properly pressurized in the event of a fire.
At Cooper, we know building code. Our professional team has decades of experience working with multi-floor commercial spaces. We routinely conduct pressurization tests for hotels, restaurants, schools, and medical facilities to ensure that pressurization systems work and meet required standards.
To learn more about stairwell pressurization tests or to schedule a time for our team to come out, please contact us today.