We should always do what we can to ensure that a fire never begins in the first place, but the next step is knowing how to minimize its spread. Most people are familiar with the basics of fire suppression, but the passive fire protection that actually contains a fire at its point of origin may be invisible or even forgotten – until the day we come to truly appreciate and depend on it.
So, we can say that the purpose of Passive Fire Protection is to maximize the time available to evacuate a building, or prevent a fire from taking hold in the first place. When properly installed and maintained, your building’s passive fire protection can save lives and assets, and the building itself. There are four main areas of passive fire protection.
FIRST: Structural fire protection
Structural fire protection guards all essential structural components (such as structural steel or joint systems) from the effects of fire. All of this is accomplished with a fireproofing materials (mineral wool wraps and insulation , endothermic materials like gypsum-based plasters and cementitious products, and fireproofing cladding) or building the whole structure out of concrete products.
This includes firewalls, fire barriers (fire-rated walls, floors, and ceilings, often made of concrete, gypsum, combination wood, or masonry, fire partitions and smoke barriers. All of these are used to limit the spread of fire in a building and allow safe egress.
THIRD: Opening protection
It is said that doors, frames, and builders’ hardware, work together to form an effective smoke and fire barrier. They maintain fire barrier’s fire resistance. Fire-rated framing and glazing/glass are tested as a complete assembly that always maintain the protection of the fire barrier. Additionally, fire and smoke dampers (common in duct systems) usually complete the fire barrier where air ducts penetrate fire-rated or smoke-resistant assemblies.
FOURTH: Firestopping materials
These special materials are used to limit the fire spread through penetrations in a fire barrier. Often happen that a fire barrier gets penetrated during a minor facility alteration and then, that penetrating item is not protected be firestopping. Some of the specialists, like electricians, plumbers or other building workers can leave hidden holes it the fire/ smoke barriers as they perform all their services. Membrane penetrations are problematic because, if there is a fire situation, and smoke gets in a chase wall, it can easily go upward and actually spread through the whole building. So, if the penetration isn’t properly protected with an appropriate firestopping system, the fire barrier is rendered significantly less effective, and fire can spread beyond the compartment of origin.
Other areas of Passive Fire Protection that we’d like to mention about are: joint systems (which include changes in direction between fire-separating elements and the all spaces surrounded by them), cable coating (the application of fire retardants to wire and cable), and perimeter fire barriers (they deal with the perimeter of the exterior curtainwall and the floor).
Here’s a little summary: Passive fire protection doesn’t require any activation. For example, a fire door is an effective fire resistant barrier without any need for external stimulation. The same can be said for fire rated plasterboard or glass. Both of these materials are designed to be fire resistant until the point when they eventually give way to the fire, or the fire is extinguished. Passive fire protection compartmentalizes a building into smaller sections. This helps to slow or prevent the spread of fire and smoke from one room to another. It also helps to limit the amount of damage done to a facility and provides its occupants more time for evacuation.
Omega’s professionals are quality trained individuals with knowledge of the most revelant safety features, including spreading and constantly improving technologies. We always take care of your business and house as good as we can, having on mind your desires, needs and the latest safety rules and technologies. Our technicians are here to help you make your facilities highly protected with the best solutions, so you won’t have to worry about any safety aspects. Our goal is to help you choose solutions that fit best all your needs for simplicity, reliability and ease of maintenance. We provide simple systems but also ones containing specialized, customizable features.