Passive fire protection, which is also referred to as PFP, is one of the primary components of any fire safety strategy. To keep people safe and to reduce fire and smoke damage, PFP plays a critical role. This protection comes in different forms, including:
- Limited Spread — Because fire, heat, and smoke are contained in a single compartment within the area of origin, the spread is limited.
- Escape Time — Escape routes are protected, thereby providing occupants with maximum escape time.
- Full Protection — Both the building structure and assets are protected.
For optimal protection, passive fire protection should be used in coordination with active fire prevention, which includes fire extinguishers, sprinkler systems, and even fire safety education for occupants of the building.
Typically, the size and exact type of fire, as well as the availability of water, length of protection needed, evacuation time required, and the structure and/or equipment that need protection dictate whether a passive or active system or perhaps a combination of the two is deployed.
In some countries, passive protection must meet building requirements. This ensures that occupants can evacuate safely from a building that will not collapse due to fire. For carrying out regular fire risk assessments, the legal responsibility falls back on the building owner, managers, occupants, and designers.
Recently, the demand for passive protection has become more complex. This is in part due to increasing pressure for reducing energy costs and improving on thermal insulation. To bolster fire safety, PFP products are installed.
- Fire-resistant walls, ceilings, floors, and ducts
- Spray-on fire-resistant epoxy subliming and intumescent coatings
- Fire-protective wardrobes or boxes
- Fire doors that have a fire-protection or fire-resistance rating to reduce the spread of smoke and fire between compartments
- Fire dampers that are used in HVAC systems to prevent fire from spreading through ductwork
- Firewall, which is designed to serve as a barrier in preventing fire from spreading between or through structures or buildings
- Protection of essential equipment, including gas tanks, oil tanks, and various other volatile sites to prevent risk of explosion
- Passive fire protection panel or sheet
Based on the design, passive fire protection can be added to a building after construction or as part of the structure’s fabric. A third party conducts the proper testing, assessment, and certification to verify the workmanship quality and competency of companies that manufacture, install, and maintain PFP.