The fire spreads quickly, generates considerable heat and there is often little time available before the escape routes are cut off. And yet it is rarely burns that claim the victims. It is the smoke. It makes escape routes unrecognisable and can cause life-threatening intoxication. In purely statistical terms, of the roughly 10,000 fire-related deaths in Europe, around 80 per cent of the victims do not perish directly from the flames or heat, but as a result of the generated smoke.
In terms of the construction materials used in a building, this means that not only do they have to be fire-resistant, they also have to produce as little smoke as possible in the event of a fire. As those in charge of selecting and combining the construction materials used, designers and installers bear considerable responsibility in this respect. But how do construction materials behave in the event of a fire – and how can the responsible planners ensure that it's possible for those who find themselves in a burning building to rely on their fire protection concept in an emergency?
European fire classification
The fire behaviour of technical insulation products is clearly defined and identified according to the European fire classifications in *DIN EN 13501. For a long time, technical insulation products were evaluated primarily according to their flame retardance. Since 2012, the EU-wide classification featuring a broader spectrum of classes and combinations has provided an even more realistic evaluation of the fire behaviour of the various products – which has raised the level of safety during the design stage. It therefore also takes into account the safety-related side effects of fires, such as smoke emissions and burning droplets or particles, and divides these into classes too.
B, C, D, E, F, s, d – what do they all mean?
Insulation products are initially classified according to the five fire classes B to F in the same way as other construction materials. B stands for “flame retardant”, E for “normal flammability” and F for “easily inflammable”, i.e. this can actually mean oxidising. Smoke formation is a further criterion. This is classified according to the “s” (smoke) rating that ranges from s1 (low smoke development) to s3 (limited smoke development). A third indicator of the contribution construction and therefore insulation products make to fire protection is that of “flaming droplets” (d = droplets), which ranges from d0 (no droplets/particles) to d2 (flaming droplets).
Planning for safety with Kaimann
As a developer of modern technologies in the field of elastomeric insulation products, Kaimann strives to always provide installers, designers and tradespeople with intelligent, complete solutions. This is why our new insulation systems comply with s1 and s2, the European smoke classes with the highest requirements, allowing designers and installers to stay on the safe side.
For example, our Kaiflex KKplus insulation system is the ideal choice for the technical insulation of buildings, combined with reliable fire protection and greater energy efficiency. It is particularly suitable for use in busy public, commercial and residential buildings, where it is essential to keep escape routes smoke-free in the event of a fire. As a highly fire-resistant insulating material, Kaiflex KKplus s1, being a complete system, complies with European smoke class s1 – including accessories. By reducing the development of smoke, Kaiflex KKplus significantly helps to protect people: Escape routes remain visible and the danger of suffocation and poisoning is significantly reduced.