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The Importance of Passive Fire Protection Systems

Posted on: May 15, 2013

At Confires, most of what we deal with involves active fire protection systems—your fire sprinklers, fire alarms, fire extinguishers, etc. Essentially what is meant by “active” is that the systems produce a response in the event of a fire. And while these are crucially important, they’re only part of the equation—you can’t forget about your passive fire protection systems!

Passive fire protection, or PFP, serves to contain or slow the spread of a fire. A solid balance of active and passive fire protection systems is the best way to keep your building fully protected (although if you need to focus on one or the other, go with active—a fire sprinkler system will activate much sooner than the fire department will arrive).

Passive Fire Protection

Here are some examples of passive fire protection systems you should have in your building:

Fire Walls

Designed to prevent (or slow) the spread of fire, fire walls have fire ratings which measure how long the wall can withstand high temperatures. Fire walls should be installed to prevent the spread of flames between or through your building.

Fire Dampers

Fire dampers are located in your ventilation system. If a fire finds its way into your ducts, it can quickly spread to other areas of your building. Fire dampers are required by many building codes and insurance providers and close access to your ducts when they detect a rise in temperature.

Fire Doors

Fire doors, like fire walls, are fire rated and are designed to slow or stop the spread of fire through your building.

Fire Stopping

All of the devices listed are designed for fire stopping, so it seems off that there’s a separate category for fire stopping. But what this is a specially made caulk used to seal openings or joints in pipes, cables, etc., usually inside walls. The sealant has strong fire-resistant qualities.

Spray Fireproofing

If you’ve ever seen a bubbly coating on a structural steel beam, you’ve seen spray-on fireproofing material. The spray is designed to set up quickly like cement, and it contains special chemicals that protect materials like the metal beams from fire.

Many of these passive fire protection items can degrade, so scheduled inspections of your system will help you know for sure that they are properly maintained. For example, if you have walls that are fire rated, make sure they are in good shape. Above your ceiling, don’t let a hole in piping, which could potentially spread a fire, go unrepaired. Take care of your passive fire protection and it will take care of you.

Remember, passive fire protection systems aren’t the only things you need to keep your building safe from fire—but they do help. If you need any fire protection services in New Jersey, Delaware, or Philadelphia, call Confires today!

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