WHAT IS FIRE PROTECTION?
Before deciding which fire protection
systems to use, it is important to
distinguish between active and passive fire protection systems.
An active fire protection system reacts to
conditions caused by a fire
such as heat, smoke or light and tries to extinguish the blaze. This can be
done either by drenching via a sprinkler system, by creating a warming via a
smoke alarm, or by activating a fire defence system such as fire curtain.
A passive fire protection system on the
other hand, insulates a
structure and prevents the building from collapsing when subjected to the
effect of fire. Such protection buys time for the occupants to escape, and/ or
the fire fighting services to safely enter, and remain in, the building in
order to contain and extinguish the conflagration.
Active and passive systems are
complementary, not competitive.
Legislation recognises this by allowing them to work in tandem. For example, if
sprinklers are employed, a reduce degree of passive fire protection is allowed.
Like fire protection systems, fires are also
considered in two categories. They are classified as either cellulosic or
hydrocarbon. In fire protection terms, the difference between the two types of
fire is not the temperature but the time it takes for the fire to reach its
maximum temperature range. Under test conditions a hydrocarbon fire will reach
a temperature of 900°C
in 8 minutes, whilst a cellulosic fire will take 60 minutes to reach the same
A third possible sub-section of the
hydrocarbon fire is a fire in a
tunnel. Here, the basic concept is a burning fuel tanker and as such the fire
is fundamentally hydrocarbon in nature, but the testing temperature is to 1300°C rather than the 1120°C of the ‘standard’
hydrocarbon or cellulosic fire. For a detailed discussion of the special
requirements of passive fire protection, refer to the Innovative Fire Systems’
Generic types of passive fire protection product for cellulosic fires
There are three generic types of passive fire protection product:
1- Mineral wool spray on coatings
2- Gypsum spray on coatings (lightweight for construction industry)
3- Cement spray on coatings (heavy weight for oil & gas and tunnels)
4- Intumescent paints (Solvent ; Water based or epoxy for industrial)
5- Gypsum or silicate Boards
Each product has its own unique way of achieving the required
depending on the type of industry. please contact us