Fire protection being upgraded

Otago Museum facilities manager Chris Patchett stands beside a recently installed fire protection...
Otago Museum facilities manager Chris Patchett stands beside a recently installed fire protection bulkhead (white area around and immediately below pipes) in the museum basement. PHOTO: GERARD O'BRIEN
A fire protection upgrade in the Otago Museum basement will help protect visitors and staff as well as safeguarding collections in the event of a fire.

"It improves the public and staff safety and also protects the collections," museum commercial manager Murray Bayly said yesterday.

Up to $100,000 is being spent on the first phase of the upgrade, focusing mainly on the basement, and this work is expected to be finished in about two weeks.

Rock wool, a fire retardant material created from lava stone threads in a specialised manufacturing process, was a key component in much of the work.

Mr Bayly said that over the years, walls in the basement had been drilled and cut into to put pipes and electrical cords through, and some gaps had been left in previous construction and some gib stopping.

By fitting fire protection bulkheads and installing more fire protection doors, flame and smoke travel would be delayed.

When the work was finished, the main basement corridor would have a one-hour fire protection rating, enabling museum staff who worked in the basement to safely evacuate.

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