What is Passive Fire Protection?

Domestic fires have the power to affect any home at any time. According to the statistics recorded by the UK government, there were over 577,053 incidents of fires in the year ending March 2022, 272 of which resulted in casualties. This highlights a serious safety concern for the UK public. But what is being done? The purpose of this blog is to unpin the current practices being developed throughout the UK, in the hope that readers may make more informed decisions with regard to the fire protection solutions they adopt in the future.

 

What’s the difference between active and passive fire protection?

Active fire protection refers to the fire protection equipment installed in buildings that starts working once a fire has been detected. Active fire protection equipment may include: a fire alarm, a sprinkler system or a fire extinguisher.

Passive fire protection solutions work to prevent a fire from happening in the first place, in addition to reducing the severity of the fire and its ability to spread. Unlike active fire protection equipment, passive fire protection equipment does not need to be activated and is often built into internal structures as a means of making them more fire-resistant, also extending a person’s ability to evacuate safely.

 

What are the most effective passive fire protection solutions? 

Plumbing

The material used for most plumbing systems is UPVC, which lacks any fire-resistant properties. It can therefore carry a fire throughout a building – especially as pipes are often linked from room to room or directly connected to a boiler full of gas.

The best means of passively protecting against this is to install intumescent products for pipes, which attach to the pipe either internally or externally. The purpose of the intumescent pipe covering is to expand and create a fire seal upon coming in contact with exposed flames. This prevents fire from spreading through potential gaps in walls, ceilings and floors through which the pipes and outlets pass through.

Electrical

Each year, over half of accidental domestic fires throughout the UK are caused or made worse by electricity. This is because the metal materials most often found in electrical wires are incredible conductors, absorb the heat from a fire and pass it through the molecules within the material. Similar to plumbing, the electrical aspects of a building are another common route for fire to travel from room to room through.

Thankfully, there are now a few effective passive fire protection solutions that have been developed in aid of this. The first of these is an intumescent fuse box cover, which prevents the main source of electricity within the entire property from being breached. The second of these is an intumescent gasket box, also known as a ‘dry box’, which serves as a cage barrier from your plug sockets to your mains. In both cases, the intumescent foam will begin to expand once in contact with heat or exposed flames, serving as an impermeable barrier to slow down the fire and prevent it from reaching the electricity in your house.

HVAC

In short, HVAC stands for heating, ventilation and air conditioning. HVAC systems are installed in buildings to provide internal heating and cooling, in addition to the proper ventilation of air and moisture. They can take on many shapes and sizes, but as they are responsible for temperature control and the movement of air, they are highly flammable, and once ignited, can help a fire spread quickly throughout an entire premises.

One way in which you can apply passive fire protection services to your HVAC systems is to install fire-resistant slabs on the inside of your HVAC system, as this will prevent external fires from impacting the interior of the system. Additional methods of protection include intumescent fire mastic around the seals of the HVAC units and their entry to and from each room, as well as a flame bar, which is a water-based foam compound that can be sprayed on the external portion of the HVAC unit, providing up to two hours of fire resistance to temperatures of up to 400 Degrees Celsius.

Structural

The structure and framing of a building is one of the most important aspects of a building to fireproof, as if the structure collapses, it will be extremely difficult for a person to evacuate safely. Beams, columns, floors, ceilings and masonry – no matter if they are made from timber or steel – are all vulnerable to deterioration and collapse.

Structural fire protection safeguards the essential structural components of your property, such as steel and joint systems, from the destructive effects of fire. This is typically accomplished through intumescent block grills and sprays and mineral wool wraps, as well as fireproof cladding and gypsum plaster. The majority of these are the materials used during the construction process. However, fire safety products such as mineral wool wraps and spray-on intumescent can be applied at any time.

 

 

Passive Fire Solutions with FPC

Improving the safety and security aspects of your property is always a worthwhile investment and can sometimes be the difference between life and death. Whether you are looking for passive or active fire protection, FPC has you covered. We are a family-run business, established as a company over 25 years ago, and dedicated to providing simple and effective fire protection solutions across the nation.

If you’d like to know more about how we can provide the perfect fire solution for you, or if you’d like to know more about the information presented throughout this blog, then please do not hesitate to get in touch! Our team would love to hear from

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