Are you aware of the the importance of a clear flue space? You may be aware through your standard fire safety training, but might be unclear about the actual flue space requirements. While keeping transverse flue space clear is important, keeping longitudinal flue space clear is also vital for safety. It allows heat from a fire to vent upward and activate ceiling sprinklers, preventing a fire from spreading across your warehouse.
In fact, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Code 13 shows the results of several tests determining the dangers of blocked flue spaces. The results of these tests show that blocked longitudinal flue space prevents ceiling fire sprinklers from working effectively. So what are the flue space requirements for effective, clear flue space?
What makes a flue space “clear”?
Clear flue spaces don’t have products, equipment, or pallets that have been pushed through from the rack where they are stored. In addition, the NFPA denotes that a 6-inch separation between racks is required for effective ceiling fire sprinkler spread.
This amount of space allows fire and heat to vent upward instead of out, which activates sprinkler systems more quickly. It also allows the sprinkler water to reach the base of the fire down through the racks more efficiently.
Typically, most pallet rack systems are designed with even spacing between loads and upright frames. However, it is important to measure this distance during routine safety checks to maintain the proper 6-inch separation.
How to keep your flue space clear
Poor rack design, deep pallet loads, and pallet push through can impact your flue space’s effectiveness in preventing fire spread. In addition to ensuring you have a well-designed rack system and correctly sized pallets, proper safety solutions help make keeping your flue space clear simple.
A proper rack safety system is essential for maintaining clear flue space. Adrian’s Pallet Rack Safety product line offers effective, simple, and affordable solutions for racking flue space compliance and work area protection. According to Steve Dew, president of Adrian’s, the Rack Safety Strap and Rack Safety Net provide full top-to-bottom coverage of the back of the rack and install in seconds by attaching to the rack upright.
“We’ve found we can save customers 50% or more on product alone, plus the installation takes a fraction of the time versus traditional products,” said Dew. “You can use an installation team or have your staff install it themselves because it doesn’t require any tools or retrofitting on the rack uprights. We designed our products to be easy to install and less expensive than other systems to ensure companies can benefit their bottom line while keeping their employees and inventory safe.”
Want to see an installation in action? Check out this video, and you’ll see we mean it when we say our solutions require no nuts, bolts, or extra tools, and truly install in seconds.
Let’s Do a Quick Recap About Flue Space Requirements
- Be mindful of transverse flue space, or the space between the commodities on the racks
- Keep in mind longitudinal flue space, or the space between the racks themselves
- Maintain proper 6-inch separation between racks in the down-aisle direction at all times
- Recognize flue space allows a free flow of air and proper sprinkler function in the event of a fire
- Organize products to meet these requirements, and limit the risk of falling or damaged products
This post was originally published on Dec. 19, 2018, and has since been updated.