A passive fire protection system is a group of different passive protection measures that contain or impede the speed a fire can spread at. The advantage of Passive fire protection systems will ordinarily consist of barriers such as cladding or fire doors which are then supplemented by intumescent paints or sprays.
In this article, we will look at what the components of a passive fire protection system are and how they work together to contain and slow fires.
Table of Contents
What do fire protection systems offer?
Every business in Ireland is responsible for ensuring every precaution is taken to prevent loss of life and property damage. So if you manage fire safety, it’s essential to know the difference between active and passive protection.
What materials are used in the design and construction of a PFP System?
Passive Fire Protection (PFP) systems utilise various materials for their design and construction. Endothermic materials such as silicate board, concrete, calcium and gypsum wallboard absorb heat and slowly release it.
Structural fire resistance can be achieved using two types of materials: intumescent and vermiculite.
Vermiculite materials are applied in a relatively thick layer to cover structural steel. The porous nature of steel bars makes them unsuitable for environments. Especially where water exposure is a possibility.
Unlike vermiculite, Intumescent fireproofing is applied like paint in a relatively thin layer. The layer of paint will typically measure 350 to 700 micrometres, and its thickness depends on which steel is used. Vermiculite coating has a smoother and more aesthetic finish and helps stop or slow corrosion.
Installation of Passive Fire Protection Systems
The installation of a passive fire protection system is a highly intricate process, one which requires excellent levels of care and attention.
The installer is responsible for ensuring that the system is installed to the highest possible standard and comes with the approved certification.
Following an installation, regular checks will be made to ensure it operates how it should in the event of a fire.
Protection System Maintenance
In order to ensure the effectiveness and reliability of fire protection systems, regular maintenance is paramount. By conducting routine inspections and maintenance procedures, building owners and facility managers can enhance the safety of occupants and safeguard valuable assets. In this article, we will delve into the significance of maintenance for fire protection systems and highlight key considerations for establishing a robust maintenance plan.
Ensuring Proper Functionality
Regular maintenance plays a vital role in ensuring that fire protection systems, including both active and passive measures, function optimally when needed. Components such as fire alarms, sprinklers, smoke detectors, fire doors, and fire-resistant materials require periodic inspections to identify any potential issues or malfunctions. By proactively addressing these concerns, maintenance helps prevent system failures and maximizes the effectiveness of these protective measures.
Compliance with Regulations and Standards
Adhering to local fire safety regulations and industry standards is crucial for maintaining a safe environment. Many jurisdictions require building owners to perform regular inspections and maintenance on fire protection systems to comply with specific codes. By implementing a comprehensive maintenance program, property owners can demonstrate their commitment to meeting these legal requirements and ensure the safety of occupants and visitors.
Minimising Downtime and Business Interruption
Unforeseen system failures or malfunctions can result in significant downtime and business interruption. Regular maintenance helps identify potential issues beforehand, allowing for timely repairs or replacements. By proactively addressing maintenance needs, businesses can minimize the risk of unexpected shutdowns, mitigate financial losses, and maintain operations continuity.
Extending Equipment Lifespan
Just like any other mechanical or electrical system, fire protection equipment has a limited lifespan. However, regular maintenance can significantly extend the operational life of these systems. Through proper cleaning, lubrication, and calibration, the longevity and reliability of fire protection components can be optimized. This not only helps to save costs associated with premature replacements but also provides peace of mind knowing that the systems are in good working condition.
Enhancing Safety Preparedness
Maintenance of fire protection systems goes hand in hand with fostering a culture of safety preparedness. By conducting regular inspections and maintenance, building owners and facility managers ensure that all safety measures are up to date-and functioning correctly. This helps to instil confidence in occupants, employees, and visitors, promoting a safer environment and enabling swift and effective response in the event of a fire emergency.
Regular maintenance is a critical aspect of fire protection system management. By investing in routine inspections, cleaning, testing, and repairs, building owners can uphold compliance with regulations, minimize downtime, extend equipment lifespan, and enhance overall safety preparedness. Collaborating with qualified professionals and establishing a comprehensive maintenance plan will help ensure the continued effectiveness and reliability of fire protection systems, ultimately safeguarding lives and property.
The Benefits of Fire Protection Systems
Each fire protection system has its own benefits. Passive Fire Systems are designed to contain, control, and slow fire, preventing the fire from spreading through a building. Whereas active fire protection is about detecting and fighting the fire. Which method is more effective, depends on the type, speed and aggression of a particular fire.
Although both systems have different merits and ultimately work most effectively in tandem, they both have different Pros & Cons.
A passive fire system will attempt to preserve the building’s structural integrity while simultaneously attempting to slow the fire allowing occupants to escape and emergency services to respond.
Whereas active fire measures detect and attempt to put out the fire using alarms and sprinklers.
In conclusion, both systems offer a completely different level of protection and should be considered two sides of the same coin.
What is an example of a passive fire protection plan?
A passive fire protection plan, otherwise known as PFP Audit, is where a fire protection company maps out exactly what needs to be done to manage the risk of fire effectively.
A plan would map out where fires are most likely to occur and then explain how the passive protection technologies would help protect both the structure and the occupants.
How do protections complement each other?
We often asked the question “If I have active fire protection, why do I need passive fire protection?
?An active fire protection system takes action to extinguish fires, but it’s not always foolproof. Issues like inadequate maintenance, problems with a water supply such as frozen pipes, or insufficient water pressure can cause sprinklers to fail.
On the other hand, passive fire protection utilises systems that help manage and prevent the spread of fire and smoke. However, it doesn’t directly engage in extinguishing fires. Therefore, both active and passive fire protection systems are intended to work in tandem during a fire rather than one replacing the other.
The primary concern today lies in the quality of construction and substandard workmanship involving unsuitable materials. This is compounded by inadequate protection of concealed spaces, particularly compartmentation in roof voids, which poses a significant risk of concealed fire spread.
Both active and passive fire protection are designed to safeguard lives and buildings, and they should be taken into account during both construction and maintenance processes. Ensuring the effectiveness of passive fire measures will provide you and the occupants of your building with peace of mind, knowing that in the event of a worst-case scenario, people will have ample time to evacuate. Active and passive fire protection systems work in conjunction to control fires and preserve lives.
If you require assistance or guidance in evaluating the safety of your building, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We can arrange a site survey, or if you lack a suitable and comprehensive fire risk assessment, kindly provide us with your details, and we will get in touch with you promptly.
Passive Fire Protection Installers Ireland
As Ireland’s leading fire prevention/detection supplier, Firestoppers offers a full range of products and services. Our products come from only the best names at a competitive price.
We offer a complete range of services which include Fire Equipment Maintenance/Installation and Training Courses. We offer a fully tailored service to businesses and organisations, from design, installation and commissioning to certification.
Contact us today to discuss how we can help you and your project.