What is fire protection?
You can take all the precautions in the world, but sometimes accidents do happen, and fires do break out. That’s when your fire protection systems will come into their own.
The aim of fire protection is to save lives and reduce damage to property. And it loosely falls into two categories. Active and passive fire protection.
Active fire protection
As the title implies, active fire protection involves measures that react in the event of a fire. This might be an alarm system signalling the presence of smoke. Emergency lighting and sprinkler systems kicking in, in the event of a fire alarm being triggered. Or the use of fire extinguishers to quench an ignited flame. They all require an action for them to become active.
Passive fire protection
Passive fire protection refers to the structural measures that you can take within your workplace to prevent a fire from spreading once it has been ignited. And there are various things that you can do to that end.
Fire retardant paint
Known within the trade as intumescent paint, fire retardant paint can be applied to steel frames within the structure of the property to help protect them against fire damage. This not only hinders the spread of a fire, but helps to reduce structural degradation, by adding around two hours to the amount of time it will take before significant damage occurs.
In smaller buildings, this could make the difference between repairable and irreparable damage. In larger buildings, it could mean the difference between a full, safe evacuation, and loss of life.
Fire resistant furnishings
This one crosses over with fire prevention, partly. But fire-resistant furnishings, such as fire doors, as well as the selection of non-flammable items, such as seating, desks, flooring, window coverings, can contribute to the fire prevention strategy of your workplace.
Fire stopping and compartmentation
This refers to structural alterations that you can make to improve the fire safety of your building. Compartmentation can help to prevent the spread of fire, through separating your building into compartments. Each one protected by fireboards, which absorb heat rather than conduct it. Firestopping works on a similar principle, by filling any structural cavities with non-flammable/fire retardant material. This again, naturally slows the spread of fire, helping to prevent excessive damage and giving occupants more time to safely leave the premises.