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Understanding Active and Passive Fire Protection Systems

What Do Fire Protection Systems Protect?

Fire protection systems have the essential role of providing front line defence to residential, commercial and industrial buildings. What other kind of protection systems can face bush fires, hospital and school fires and provide fire suppression systems in tall buildings?

In the recent years, a remarkable trend has been happening in the construction industry. More and more building and facilities designers are integrating natural elements, sustainable “green” components, and fire protection engineering into their designs; such as the use of natural lighting through atria, skylights and fire-rated glazed materials. Construction designs and fire code standards are being integrated to comply with prevailing building codes.

To assure compliance, all the stakeholders, the owners, architects, designers, engineers including the fire protection engineers and building and permit authorities are collaborating with each other.

What is the difference between Active and passive fire protection systems?

The main difference between active and passive fire protection systems is that active systems are designed to put out fires, while passive ones are designed to prevent them from starting in the first place.

Passive Fire Protection, THE SILENT DEFENDER

Passive fire protection systems include door closures that automatically close when they sense smoke or other dangerous gases; automatic shut-off valves on gas lines; smoke curtains that prevent smoke from entering an area through small openings like doors and windows; and emergency lighting systems that provide light even when power is out so people can still find their way around safely during an evacuation or blackout period.

Fire protection systems are designed to work 24 hours a day and when a raging fire comes roaring, the systems should have the power to control the fire and prevent it from spreading. The effectiveness of passive fire protection tools can only be evaluated after a fire assessment of structural damage and collateral damage. One tool being promoted for educational and healthcare structures are fire rated glazing materials which allow natural daylight to go through building spaces of medical labs, stairways, corridors, etc. instead of using artificial lighting.

Fire retardants are another form of passive protection against fires. These chemicals can restrain spread of fire and save lives and properties. You can apply the latest kind of retardants to your curtains, draperies, carpeting, dining and living room furniture and fixtures, or equipments and others as extra precaution in addition to your smoke alarms or sprinklers.

>>>Relevant article: “Passive Fire Protection, Back To Basics”<<<

Active Fire Protection

Active fire protection systems include sprinklers, which spray water on a fire as soon as it starts; heat detectors, which detect the rise in temperature caused by a fire and alert the appropriate people; and smoke detectors, which do much the same thing as heat detectors but rely on rising smoke levels instead of rising temperatures. These systems will only activate when there’s actually a fire going on—they don’t do anything if there isn’t one.

There are many types of active fire protection, each with their own purpose.

Sprinkler systems: Sprinklers are the most common type of active fire protection and are typically found in public and commercial buildings. These systems are designed to prevent fire from spreading by releasing water into a room and/or building area.

Fire alarms: A fire alarm is an electronic or mechanical device that alerts people to the presence of smoke or fire, giving them time to escape safely. Fire alarms can be found in homes and offices alike.

Fire extinguishers: Fire extinguishers are portable devices that can be used to quickly put out small fires before they spread out of control. The type of extinguisher you need depends on the type of fire you’re dealing with and where it’s happening (for example, if you have an electrical fire, you’ll need a different kind than if it’s wood or paper).

Fire extinguishers, sprinklers and other active fire protection systems are most effective when integrated and incorporated with passive fire protection systems to have a well balanced strategy. Using  detection, suppression and compartmentalization (DSC) approach will allow occupants a safe exit during a fire and provide protection from flames, smoke and heat to your valuable assets.

These are the types of 21st century fire protection systems you should invest in for the protection of precious lives of people you care and love and your valuable properties!

Dedicated to Your Fire Safety

Alex

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