Cable Tunnel Fire Compartmentation
In the event of a tunnel fire, protecting any people within the tunnel system is of paramount importance. However, this doesn’t just come down to preventing a fire from spreading from down the tunnel, or extracting the smoke effectively. In many cases, it’s also important to prevent the fire spreading laterally, either from or towards vital support systems and electrics.
The cables which power the fans, lighting and other elements of a tunnel are often housed in a parallel service tunnel, which is equally susceptible to fire damage. Should a fire start in this cable tunnel – or breach it from a parallel tunnel – the active fire protection and other safety critical systems in the main tunnels could fail, jeopardising rescue and evacuation efforts.
Such electrical fires pose an equivalent or greater risk than a fire in the main tunnels, whether they are carrying cars, trains or even pedestrians. As such, it’s of critical importance that any fire occurring in the cable tunnel is contained effectively, both by shielding the cables and creating breaks along the length of the tunnel.
Invicta Durasteel is ideal for the creation of fire compartments within a cable or service tunnel. By creating floor-to-ceiling barriers at regular intervals along the length of a cable tunnel, fires can be contained to a single section of the tunnel. With a fire-rating of up to four hours, the damage from a fire can be better contained, and the window for an effective emergency response increases.
A Durasteel door allows passage between compartments, which provides the same fire rating as the barrier itself, customisable to your requirements. Each compartment will usually have its own access point (e.g. ladder), ensuring that personnel can evacuate from another compartment if theirs is compromised. Fire walls are also often built around the cable trench in the centre of the tunnel, shielding the rest of the space and confining the fire.
Passive fire protection for cable tunnels also frequently involves the use of high voltage cable protection. Durasteel encasements can be applied to either or both of the primary and backup cables, both protecting them from an external fire and containing an internal fire. In the event that a cable catches fire or explodes, the other cable and surroundings will remain intact.
Invicta have worked on a number of cable tunnel fire compartmentation projects, covering the power, rail and road industries. Visit our Case Studies page to learn more about our work, or contact us today to find out what we can do for your business or enterprise.