An important aspect of fire protection is insulated fire sleeves. Designed to protect vulnerable elements of a commercial or residential building in the event of a fire, insulated fire sleeves fit over the element they intend to protect such as wires, pipes or hoses. The overall design of the sleeve is focused on providing thermal dynamic protection.
How do sleeves provide protection?
Insulated fire sleeves provide passive fire protection in several ways:
Fire sleeves are constructed to withstand extreme temperatures, they achieve this by being made from fire-resistant materials such as silicone, ceramic fibres or fibreglass. These materials when constructed correctly have the ability to withstand extreme temperatures and resist the spread of fire. When exposed to fire, smoke or extreme heat the sleeves act as a protective barrier, preventing the flames from reaching the covered object which in turn reduces the chance of fire propagation.
A secondary benefit of insulated fire sleeves is that they provide thermal insulation, they achieve this by limiting the amount of heat that is transferred from the environment to the covered object (wire, pipe, etc). The sleeves design causes it to trap air between the side of the sleeve and the sleeve itself, this allows a barrier between the fire and the protected element. This in turn allows the protected element to remain undamaged for a certain amount of time even in the most aggressive of fires.
Containment and Suppression
Not only do fire sleeves aim to protect the element they encase but actually act as a fire suppression method as well. Typically constructed with a tight weave or intumescent coating, they do not conduct flame or fire, meaning that the sleeves will offer no platform for a fire to continue spreading in their direction.
Additionally, some fire sleeves are treated with fire-retardant coatings or chemicals that can further suppress the fire and limit its progression.
The final benefit of insulated fire sleeves is the fact they provide physical protection. Because of the robust design and strong elements, they are built with, sleeves will act as a shield and protect against most abrasion, impact and general wear and tear. In a commercial setting where heavy machinery is used, the sleeves also protect against vibration and friction.
What Building Types Need Sleeves?
Although a fire sleeve can assist in the fire protection system of any building, they are most commonly found in:
The most common use for fire sleeves is in any commercial building. Anything from small offices to large commercial structures such as shopping malls and hotels can massively improve fire safety by ensuring adequate use of fireproof sleeves.
“At Firestoppers, we have installed 1000s of metres of insulated fire sleeves, in the event of a fire it’s so very important to ensure that your pipes and electrical wires are protected. Not only will this protection save money if the building is not catastrophically damaged but it will also impede the spread of fire through a commercial building where gas pipes and electrical wiring can help a fire accelerate dramatically. As a rule, we believe every commercial premise that has footfall; should be inspected at least once every 6 months – if you would like a free fire safety audit then please contact us today.”
Industrial facilities often have vast amounts of wiring to power heavy machinery or large manufacturing systems. These wires can act as an accelerant during a fire and should always be encased not only to protect against fire but also against general wear and tear that occurs in an industrial setting.
“Industrial facilities are one of the most prone to fires, this is due to the amount of machinery and equipment all of which present a fire hazard even when managed with extreme caution. Invariably industrial facilities have large amounts of wiring and any areas of wiring that are exposed should be covered in insulated sleeving.”
Although residential buildings, often will not have as much wiring as industrial or commercial premises – insulated sleeves are still a vital part of a fire protection system. Most commonly used for electrical wiring, plumbing lines and HVAC systems, the sleeves will assist in minimising damage to the property and transferring heat.
“After 20 years in the fire protection industry, we have seen the devastation a fire can cause, particularly in a large residential unit. Installing adequate fire-protective sleeves could well be the difference between getting all tenants out and not. Contact us today for more information.”
Frequently Asked Questions
What size pipes require fire collars?
The specific size of pipes that require fire collars can vary depending on the building codes, regulations, and fire safety standards applicable in a particular jurisdiction. The requirements for fire collars are often determined based on the purpose and location of the pipes within the building. However, as a general guideline, fire collars are commonly used for pipes with a diameter of 50 mm (2 inches) or larger.
How to install a fire sleeve?
In our opinion, fire sleeves should be installed by a registered fire safety organisation such as Firestoppers.
What an intumescent fire collar
Intumescent fire collar is just another word for Insulated fire sleeve.
Passive Fire Protection Ireland
Fire Stoppers is a leading installer of insulated fire sleeves and has helped countless home and business owners sleep at night with the peace of mind there their property, business and occupants are as protected as they can be. Fire is an eventuality no one expects, but should always be prepared for.
Contact us today and one of our experienced team will help you in any area of fire protection.