Passive Fire Protection

In any building or structure, fire safety is crucial, and passive fire protection plays an important part in that.

Passive fire protection refers to the design and construction features of a building that help prevent the spread of fire and protect occupants in the occurrence of a fire. This article defines what passive fire protection is, provides examples of passive fire protection, explains why it is important, and introduces its counterpart - active fire protection.

What is Passive Fire Protection?

Passive Fire Protection (PFP) is a group of protective systems that compartmentalise a building fire-resistant materials and design features. Compartmentalising your building into smaller sections is crucial in helping to slow down or prevent the spread of fire and/or smoke from one room to the next, to reduce the amount of damage caused and to allow additional time for occupants to evacuate.

Examples of Passive Fire Protection

There are numerous tactics which can be implemented into a building to aid passive fire protection, including:

Fire doors - designed to close automatically, fire doors can prevent the spread of fire and smoke and are rated based on their tolerance to withstand fire. To find out more about fire door installation, visit our fire doors section.

Firestopping -by sealing any openings in walls and floors, firestopping helps to further prevent the spread of fire and smoke. This usually includes sealing pipes, ducts, and cables, along with any other potentially hazardous areas for spread. To find out more about fire stopping, click here.

Fire-resistant walls and floors - Walls and floors are built with materials that are designed to resist the spread of fire.

Fire dampers - installed in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, fire dampers prevent the spread of fire through the ducts. Designed to automatically close when they detect heat or smoke, these key areas of the building are important to protect from spread.

Why is Passive Fire Protection Important?

Passive fire protection is essential in protecting a building, its assets and its people. These include:

Protecting occupants - one of the main purposes of passive fire protection is to protect the occupants of a building in case of a fire. By preventing or slowing down the spread of flames and smoke, occupants have more time to evacuate safely.

Limits damage - left its own devices, fire and tear through an unprotected building. With passive fire protection measures, the amount of time it takes for the fire to spread is extended, meaning that less damage is caused. By containing the fire to a specific area of the building, the amount of damage can be minimised, and the cost of repairs reduced.

Compliance - Many buildings legally require passive fire protection measures to be in place. Buildings that don’t meet these requirements may be unsafe and face legal consequences.

Active Fire Protection

While passive fire protection refers to the use of materials and design features to slow the spread of fire, active fire protection involves systems that require a response to detect and extinguish fires. This may include fire alarms, sprinkler systems, and fire extinguishers.

To find out more about Active Fire Protection, click here.