Toxic Smoke Inhalation – The Silent Killer

Importance of UL94 V0 certification for Seals, Gaskets, and Mouldings

Were you aware that people are much more likely to die from smoke than burns during a fire?

Toxic fumes obstruct eyesight, irritate the eyes and lungs, and makes it difficult to breathe. Mental capacity loss, dizziness, fear, and finally unconsciousness leading to death are the end consequences of inhaling toxic smoke. The London Kings Cross fire incident in 1987 is one such example, the official findings stated that, “A jet of flame roared into the ticket hall, which quickly filled with toxic smoke so that even many of those who escaped the flames were overcome and died” (1), all because of toxic smoke inhalation.  Statistics reveal that 41% of fire-related deaths in the UK (2) were caused when people were overpowered by gas, smoke, or poisonous fumes.

The amount of smoke produced by a fire grows exponentially as it expands and burns more combustible materials. Hence, restricting and confining fire spread is critical for improving fire safety and minimising harmful smoke emissions.

But what can we do to make this happen? The solution is to employ materials that are non-flammable.   Should the unfortunate occur, and materials catch fire, they should not be emitting toxic fumes as they burn. But how is it possible to know for sure whether a material is non-flammable and that the smoke is non-toxic? This is where UL 94 V-0 or EN 45545 standards comes into play.

UL 94 V-0 or EN 45545 standards in Elastomers (Sponge, Rubber) is necessary

EMI Seals and Gaskets Ltd has arrange of low smoke, low toxicity (LSLT) halogen free materials that meet the latest European Standard EN 45545 and the more widely known UL94 (Underwriters Laboratories) tests. UL94 is one of the most extensively used flammability tests for measuring the combustibility of elastomer materials, and it assesses the ability of the elastomer material to extinguish the flame once it has been ignited based on burning speed, burning time, and dripping behaviour. Elastomer materials have different fire ratings, ranging from HB, V-2, V-1 and V-0. The most effective rating in this case is V-0, which means that the flame is extinguished within 10 seconds following two 10-second burning tests on the item.

EMI Seals and Gaskets Ltd provides a comprehensive range of elastomer materials that comply with EN 45545 and UL 94V-0 standards. For instance, Our EMI-401 series of Closed Cell Silicone Sponge which is the Flame retardant version, has been tested and authorised for use on the London Underground. EMI’s Silicone Semi Closed Cell Foam is ideal for non-flammable cushions and carpets underlay on aircraft and trains because of its high resilience, low compression set, 100 percent memory, and ability to exceed the UL94V-0 certified insulation standards.

No one can promise that a fire will never happen, but that being the case, it is critical to ensure that fire and smoke prevention measures are in place. In the case of a fire, by using EN 455445 and UL94 V0 certified products, you can decrease the danger to lives from the harmful impacts of hazardous smoke. Please contact our Technical or Sales Departments for more information on how our EN 45545 and UL94 V0 certified approved seals and gaskets could benefit your application.

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