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Subject: Smoke control

Smoke control

From: John McIntyre <pr261jm>
Date: Wednesday, June 30, 1993
At NLS we are part way through a multi million pound programme to reduce
the disaster risk in our Main Building.  Most of the work is focused on
fire prevention and control.  A great deal of work has been done, and is
ongoing, on matters such as the separation of human activity from
collection areas, increasing the fire resistance of the building fabric,
compartmentalization and fire detection.  A sprinkler system is to be

We note with concern the results of recent tests in Canada which
produced a terrifying quantity of smoke within a few minutes from a
relatively small simulated library fire. As a result, we are aware of
the need for smoke extraction.  Smoke is as potentially damaging as the
fire or the water used to extinguish it.  However, without going into
unnecessary detail, we are having difficulty in providing smoke
extraction because of the architecture and detail of the building.  The
disruption and cost of providing this is likely to be enormous.  While
having some personal experience of smoke damage suffered in library
fires, this has always been on material in public library fires which
has been considered to be dispensable or replaceable and recovering the
damaged material was not a priority.  Since we are a Legal Deposit
Library with responsibility for permanent retention we cannot take this

May I ask if anyone has experience of:

    a.  recovering smoke damaged library material

    b.  whether recovery was partial or fully successful

    c.  if recovery was successful, what method was used and what was
        the average unit cost?

In my opinion, "chemical sponges" are only partially successful on book
material and impossible to use on fragile or manuscript material.

I am trying to measure the risk sustained if smoke extraction was not

Thank you in advance.

John E McIntyre
Head of Preservation
National Library of Scotland

                  Conservation DistList Instance 7:10
                   Distributed: Friday, July 9, 1993
                        Message Id: cdl-7-10-008
Received on Wednesday, 30 June, 1993

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