A fire safety strategy usually includes three main components: passive fire protection (PFP), active fire protection (AFP) and fire prevention. While most people are familiar with AFP elements such as smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, emergency lighting and sprinkler systems; they might not be as aware of PFP.
PFP, or Passive Fire Protection, involves fire stopping components that are built into the structure of a building by fire protection companies. It uses fire-resistance-rated floors and walls to compartmentalise a building and contain any spreading of a fire that has already started. One of the ways of doing this is by dividing buildings into different areas, thus protecting escape routes and fire exits.
Main components of a PFP system
Fire doors are a key way of stopping smoke and fire from quickly spreading. They give occupiers time to get out and also minimise wide-spread building damage. Every part of the door should be fire-rated, including the frame, signage, glazing and air transfer grilles.
Intumescent seals and smoke seals are also important. Smoke seals prevent heavy smoke from passing through the gaps between the door and door frame. Intumescent seals expand when a fire occurs to create a seal that stops the fire from spreading. So occupiers on the other side have a chance of escaping.
Intumescent pipe collars and wraps prevent fire and smoke from spreading via the pipework found in floors and walls of the compartment. The collar’s intumescent material expands in extreme heat and seals the gap in the pipe so nothing can pass through. Pipe wraps do the same, but whereas collars can be fitted in most structures, wraps can only be fitted within a solid construction masonry.
It’s also worth noting that some construction materials, such as clay bricks, are naturally fire-resistant. So a clay brick wall is already useful for resisting the spread of fire. On the other hand, material such as timber is highly flammable and will need extra protection.
Other important PFP products
There are many other products and design features that can be added to the building’s infrastructure as part of the PFP system. These include; fire curtains, cavity barriers, fire shutters, suspended ceilings, fire fighting shafts and stairwells, fire-resisting ductwork, intumescent paint for steel, and the building envelope (e.g. curtain walls and fire-resisting external walls).
At JNR Fire Protection Specialists, we are experienced in providing and installing effective passive fire protection systems. Contact us today to find out how we can help your building remain fire resistant and safe.