Residential and commercial buildings are susceptible to several natural and human-lead hazards, and ‘fire’ is the most dangerous. Without appropriate fire-stopping measures, a fire outbreak can severely damage life and property within minutes.
Contrary to popular belief, installing sprinklers, fire extinguishers, and alarms alone cannot ensure complete protection. All these firestopping elements are a part of active fire protection. Along with these components, it is also essential to equip your building with passive fire safety constituents.
When a fire breaks out, active components are used to stop the fire and alert the occupants
whereas passive measures such as firestop sealant, fire doors, etc., inherently work to curb the spread of fire without any external intervention. Together, these elements allow the occupants to vacate the building safely and minimize property damage.
Therefore, to ensure optimal safety of your residential building, it is imperative to implement both active and passive fire protection components. This article focused on the latter and outlined everything you need to know about passive fire protection- its meaning, regulations, and components.
What is Passive Fire Protection?
The presence of passive fire protection is a vital part of any building’s fire strategy. It encompasses elements such as fire doors, fire curtains, fire-proof walls, etc., which are ideally installed at the time of construction. These passive systems, contrary to their name, are always on guard and constantly protect your building.
In case of a hazard, these solutions do not require external assistance in the event of a fire. The installed system automatically activates and compartmentalizes the fire.
This ultimately delays fire spread through compartments and allows the occupants enough time to evacuate the premises safely.
Products Of Passive Fire Protection
Fire Stopping Doors-Sets
Fire door sets are comprehensive fire protection packages that comprise door frames, doors, leaves, and other door hardware. When closed, doors operate as a barrier between compartments, preventing fire smoke and fire from spreading to other building portions.
Fire dampers play an integral role in protecting the building from within and minimizing property damage. They are installed in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning ducts, fire and smoke dampers are used to prevent fire inside the ductwork. They close automatically if the temperature rises and curb the spread of fire in internal structures. If there are any gaps or openings in the ducts and wire, they can be covered with fire sealants.
Fire-Resisting Walls & Ceilings
These are the essential components that play a part in differentiating “Fire in a building” and “Building on fire”. The walls slow down the horizontal movement of fire, and the ceilings and floors prolong the vertical spread.
Retardant Paints and Coatings
The oldest and most effective approach to protect flammable materials like wood and steel from fire damage is to coat the walls and ceilings with retardant coatings/paints. These coatings provide the best protection against fire threats, prevent loss of life while also reducing the negative impact on your property.
Other Passive Fire Protection Components
- PFP sheets
- Fire-protective boxes or wardrobes
- Fire-resisting doors and fire door furniture
- Firestop Sealant
- Compartment walls and floors
- Fire-resisting walls and partitions
- Suspended ceilings
- Fire-resisting glazing
- Fire hardware
- Industrial fire shutters
- Fire fighting shafts and stairwells
- Fire curtains
- Fire-resisting service ducts and shafts
- Hydrocarbon structural fire protection system
Maintaining the PFP Components
After installation, maintaining the PFP system is also essential. While modification and re-construction, facility managers and building owners should ensure that the PFP system is not impacted.
Timely inspections should be performed, and prompt corrective actions should be taken if any faults are found. This ensures that the defects are remedied soon and the reliability of your PFP system continues to meet the standards.
The bottom line: Be aware of what’s going on in your building and keep an eye out for any modifications in the fire-fighting system that could compromise its effectiveness.
Who is responsible for Installation & Maintenance?
The owner or landlord is responsible for carrying out installation and maintenance evaluations. However, this does not mean that these should be associated with a single party. Several parties, including but not limited to the owner, architect, insurer, contractor, and safety engineer, are bound to comply with fire protection requirements.
Primarily, architects and engineers should design the building in accordance with fire safety rules. Further, Owners of buildings should plan for timely surveys and identify defects at the earliest, and contractors should understand how to install and maintain various components.
As far as the maintenance surveys are concerned. It is recommended that these are carried out by a trained professional or an accredited fire survey company. This will minimize the undue compromises and ensure maximum accuracy.
The above post will help you understand every aspect of passive fire protection in Kent. The next step to protect your home/office is to carry out a fire protection survey. At CA fire protection, our experts can help you conduct a fire protection survey and suggest active and passive fire protection strategies for your building.
For your firestopping London and Kent requirements, contact our team today.