Fire protection

The essential elements of fire protection can be classified as either passive or active fire protection.

Used in conjunction with one another to provide a balanced fire protection strategy in modern construction, both active and passive fire protection systems are analogous to safety belts and air bags in automobiles.

Active fire protection elements are designed to activate once a fire starts to control growth or extinguish it.

Examples include fire sprinklers or gaseous extinguishing systems, fire alarms also fall into this category as they provide notification to building occupants and emergency responders.

Passive fire protection elements are designed to control fire growth and spread through the erection of barriers that minimize the spread of fire, smoke and hot gases. Such systems are said to compartmentalize or contain fire to the point or origin thereby allowing occupants time for safe egress and firefighting personnel time for safe ingress to perform search and rescue.

Passive fire protection systems may also enhance structural integrity.

Examples of passive fire protection include fire-resistive rated floors and walls, fire proofing materials for structural elements, fire doors and fire dampers.