When you think about the elements put in place to protect your home or office from fire, the first things that usually come to mind are the alarms and fire extinguisher. You will have certainly undertaken a fire drill in your office and heard the alarm being tested, and if you have been unlucky, set off your home alarm system when burning your toast.
There are very often other parts of a building’s fire protection, those that most people are less aware of. All of these systems fall into two categories: active fire protection and passive fire protection. They work together to ensure that both the building and those inside it are protected.
Active Fire Protection
The best way to define active fire protection systems is to think about items or systems that require an action or motion in order to start working.
For example, alarms and sprinkler systems are designed to trigger in the presence of smoke and heat. Alarms alert those working or living in the building and sprinkler systems can slow the spread of fire. Fire extinguishers can put out small fires completely, and in the case of larger fires, firefighters are the best equipped to tackle the blaze and put the fire out.
Passive Fire Protection
This system is always in place, built into the fabric of the building. It can contain or prevent the spread of the fire and smoke.
Passive fire protection systems include fire-resistant walls, fire doors and heat resistant glass windows. Firewalls can ‘compartmentalise’ the fire from 30mins up to four hours, allowing time for people to evacuate the building and for the fire services to arrive. It can also protect other parts of the building, adjacent premises (boundary walls) or next-door neighbours (party walls) but because it does not stop the fire it’s a passive protection system.
Active and passive fire protection systems offer different solutions to protect buildings and people, so can’t really be compared one versus the other. They are both equally important.
Both passive and active fire protection plans are an important part of any business; passive fire protection to prevent the spread of fire and active protection to stop the fire completely.
You may also be interested in our case studies…
- Sub-Divisional 60-Minute Fire-Rated Partition Wall, Bracknell
- Two-Hour Fire-Rated Partitioning for 17m High-Span Warehouse, Crewe
- Sub-Dividing Wall for New Warehouse Tenants, Southampton