Most people know a lot about active fire suppression systems. They can spot the sprinklers on the ceiling and the hydrant hanging on the wall. However, passive fire protection also plays an essential role in protecting people and property. Although active suppression systems are incredibly useful, they aren’t fail-proof. The passive and active components work together to create a fire protection network that will keep you completely covered in a fire emergency. Here’s what you should know about passive fire protection.
Building construction plays a vital role in fire protection. The use of noncombustible concrete not only resists fire, but it also doesn’t burn and contains flames. These building elements are particularly important because they are consistent and don’t require routine inspections or maintenance. Regardless of what changes take place in the design of the building, those construction materials will remain in place and continue to provide passive fire protection.
Compartmentation includes the use of fire barriers, fire partitions, and smoke barriers. They are often made of concrete, combination wood, gypsum, or masonry. They work by limiting the spread of fires, making it a lot easier for people to safely exit the building. These elements are called “fire rated” and include walls, flooring, and ceilings.
Walls usually feature windows and doors. For them to retain fire protection qualities, those additions must also offer fire resistance. Fire-rated glazing or glass and framing help maintain fire protection while allowing for full operation of the windows and doors. Opening protection also includes the air ducts with the use of fire and smoke dampers that create a complete fire barrier.
Codes and Certifications
Each component of a fire protection network has its own set of codes and regulations that it must meet. Therefore, you should know how these codes and certifications work. First, the various materials used in passive fire protection cannot be fire rated until they have are appropriately installed in the building. The National Fire Protection Association, as well as the International Code Council, are strict about the placement and proper installation of these materials. Copies of the building’s design will allow fire safety professionals to know where the passive fire protection should be placed.
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