Fire protection is the process of minimizing the damage that can result from a fire. It involves the use of various systems to prevent fires from spreading, and to assist in the rapid extinction of fires that occur.
The practice of fire protection can be divided into passive and active. Passive fire protection consists of fire doors, firewalls, and fire rated floor assemblies. Among the passive protections, the most significant is the installation of fire safe materials. These fire safe materials are made to prevent a fire from spreading, and to absorb the heat of a fire.
Active fire protection involves the application of gases and chemical powders to suppress a fire. Such systems can be used to protect control panels, switch rooms, or even to suppress a fire before it can spread. However, they require the maintenance and service of their components to operate properly. This type of system is not suitable for residential buildings.
A comprehensive fire protection plan is important to the safety of employees and visitors. These plans must include an adequate evacuation plan for people who need to evacuate. There should also be emergency lights and exit signs that are properly functioning. In addition, staff should be made aware of the location of the nearest meeting point outside the building.
While a fire detection system is not a substitute for proper fire prevention measures, it can help to alert the proper authorities and aid in preventing a fire from spreading. For example, a good smoke detector should alert the person in charge of the building if there is a fire. Moreover, the presence of an appropriate fire detection system is one of the best ways to ensure that a building can be re-occupied after a fire.
Compartmentalization is the most effective method of containing a fire and preventing it from spreading. This involves the use of fire rated walls, ceilings, and doors, and may involve the use of fire stopping solutions to seal around service penetrations.
When choosing the most effective fire protection device for your building, consider the size of the building, the building’s layout, and the environment it will be enclosing. Depending on your needs, you might want to opt for a passive or active fire suppression system. Regardless of the type of device you choose, the most important feature is to keep the smoke out.
Another important function of a good fire protection system is to reduce the costs of re-occurring damage to a facility. An average fire protection system will last 12 to 15 years. But a poorly maintained or outdated system can have a lifespan of just a few months. To ensure that a system can function at its maximum capacity, regular inspections and maintenance are necessary.
Choosing the correct fire protection devices for your building will depend on several factors. In addition to the building’s design and construction, you should be aware of the NFPA’s regulations and the local laws for constructing fire-resistant structures.