Automatic opening vents or AOV smoke vents
An Automatic Opening Vent commonly known as an AOV is a smoke or fire vent that will open and close automatically when triggered by a control system to help vent smoke or heat out of a building in the event of a fire.
As such, smoke ventilation systems are considered life safety systems and form an extremely important part of a building’s fire safety strategy. They are predominantly installed on the roof or side of the building to clear smoke from corridors or common areas such as lobbies and are also used to protect escape routes (such as stairwells) in residential or commercial buildings. They may also be required in buildings that feature open-plan interiors (such as an atrium) or in large single-storey buildings such as warehouses or factories where smoke would otherwise just build up indefinitely.
They help people escape from a building safely, but also improve the conditions in the building for firefighters who are entering it – with better visibility and improved air quality they can reach the fire more quickly and safely to get the situation under control.
AOV smoke vents are typically activated by a smoke or heat detector, either directly or from a smoke detection system and are often linked to the premises fire alarm system.
How we can help
It is the role of the “Responsible Person” to ensure that all fire safety systems in the building are maintained properly and in good working order. Most commonly, the “Responsible Person” will be either an employer, the owner or landlord of the building or anyone else who holds a level of control of the management and/or upkeep of the building.
In order to meet the requirements of the RRO and BS: 7346-8, AOVs need to be serviced by a competent person at least once a year.
AOV smoke vents should be tested on a weekly, monthly and 6-monthly basis. The weekly and monthly checks can be done by a person who is familiar with the system and performed alongside bell test and flick tests, but the 6-monthly tests need to be carried out by a professional to ensure compliance.
If any of the AOV smoke vents are found to be non-functioning during routine testing, or has become damaged, immediate action needs to be taken to remedy the faults and/or failures.