Protecting your business premises from fire is a priority for any employer, as the outbreak of a fire could not only be devastating for the business itself, but could also put the lives of employees and others in the building at risk.
There are two types of fire protection: active and passive. Active protection takes the form of more commonly known fire suppressants such as sprinklers, fire extinguishers and detection systems, which actively seek to detect and fight fire should it break out.
Passive fire systems, on the other hand, are always working, rather than having to be activated in order to fulfil their role as a fire suppression system. Passive fire protection is concerned more with the design of the building itself in order to slow and contain the spread of fire. The main purpose of passive fire protection is to allow anyone in the building enough time to evacuate safely, and to prevent the rapid spread of fire throughout the building, limiting the amount of damage inflicted on the premises.
How does passive fire protection work?
Passive fire protection systems work by compartmentalising areas of the building with barriers in order to keep fire and smoke contained in that area should there be an outbreak. This is achieved by ensuring each ‘compartment’ of the building is essentially a sealed unit, using fire doors and windows, and reinforced walls to contain fire and smoke.
All areas of the building must be considered in order to ensure passive fire protection is effective; there is no point in having a fire door if the fire can spread through the windows afterall. Fire-stopping materials should be used on walls, with fire doors and windows installed to ensure each compartment is effectively sealed. The main aim of this process is to ensure that all occupants of the building have a safe evacuation route in the case of a fire.
The most obvious benefit of installing passive fire protection is that anyone in the building in the event of a fire is afforded additional time to safely evacuate the premises; taking the precaution now to secure your building could prove essential to saving lives if a fire did ever occur. For larger commercial settings, systems require 240 minutes of protection, ensuring staff can get to safety and the fire services can arrive to safely tackle the fire without it spreading significantly.
Secondly, passive fire protection can save the building itself in the outbreak of a fire. Structural fire resistance reduces the chance of sections of the building collapsing due to damage and high temperatures, meaning valuable assets to your business will be protected and undamaged when the fire services arrive.
Combining passive fire protection systems with active systems is the ideal way of ensuring your property is efficiently protected against the outbreak of fire. Here at Protect & Detect, we provide fire risk assessments to analyse the hazards in your workplace, and offer fire detection systems, extinguishers, and alarms.
Contact us today for more information, or to discuss a fire risk assessment for your building, and we’ll be happy to assist you.