Passive fire protection is effectively integrated into the structure of the building – built-in and ready to respond if the situation requires it. This type of protection works together with active fire protection to provide a comprehensive solution to the risk that fire poses to people and buildings today.
Why have passive fire protection?
Passive fire protection measures have been designed to make more time for people to escape and to help limit the damage that can be done to a structure within a specific period of time. Passive fire protection works in a number of different ways, including:
Compartmentalising the building
This approach essentially divides up the building to limit the spread of fire and smoke, containing it within small, individual areas.
Stabilising the structure
It’s difficult to save an unstable structure during a fire and this can also cause more lives to be lost. Passive fire protection can help to provide stability for walls and floors to enable more time to escape, to reduce damage and to support firefighters in doing their jobs.
Predefining the escape routes
If passive fire protection is in place, an assessment of an emergency situation has been carried out and the best escape route identified and protected. It’s crucial that this happens before there is an emergency situation and that the optimal escape route has been established in advance.
How does passive fire protection work?
Most construction materials have some degree of natural resistance to fire and these can be enhanced and supported with passive fire protection measures. The products that fall into this category are defined in terms of their fire resistance i.e. their ability to resist fire and how long they can do that for. Fire resistance may be the ability of a material to stop or slow the spread of heat and smoke, to contain gases or to prevent or slow down a structural collapse.
Different parts of a building can be made more fire resistant by employing passive fire protection measures, depending on the way that part of the building should respond in a fire. For example, load bearing elements of the building – such as beams – just need to be able to support the structure if there is a fire. However, other elements, such as walls and doors, can be designed to also stop the fire from getting through.
The different types of passive fire protection products available
Gaps in a building can provide a conduit for smoke and flames so stopping these up makes sense. Passive fire protection measures, such as penetration seals and fire-resisting service ducts and shafts are essential.
Passive fire protection can be added to the structural frame of the building to give it more fire resistance and longevity.
Building fixtures and features
Some of the most effective passive fire protection measures are features and fixtures, including fire doors, fire shutters, fire-resisting partitions, suspended ceilings, fire-resisting glazing and industrial fire shutters and curtains.
Passive fire protection is essential for every building – if you’d like to find out more about how to upgrade your existing measures, get in touch with Hillmoore Fire Protection Ltd today.