The fire protection industry has evolved a great deal since the Great Fire of London in 1666. Technology and building safety innovations have pushed us to create safer building materials and better fire stopping systems. Even with these technologies and developments, most people don’t know the difference between active and passive fire protection systems. It is important to understand the difference and how they work together to ensure that your family and your business are safe. From a business perspective, over 70% of businesses that experience a major fire either do not reopen or fail within three years of the incident. Therefore, it’s important for everyone to know and understand the basics of fire protection systems. Many people only remember sprinklers or alarms when they think about fire protection, so this article hopes to highlight the many ways we can safeguard our offices and homes from fire damage.
What are active fire protection systems?
Active fire protection, or AFP, is a group of fire stopping systems that require an action to work in the event of a fire. Their focus is slowing or stopping the spread of a fire. Think about fire extinguishers, sprinkler systems, fire and smoke alarm systems and even the fire fighters. These are the most common examples of active fire protection. Some can be automated, some are manual. Fire and smoke alarms are automated and alert people of a potential fire. An automated sprinkler system slows the growth of a fire. Fire extinguishers are manual and put out the fire.
What are passive fire protection systems?
Passive fire protection, or PFP, is a group of fire stopping systems that contain a fire to some extent, slowing the spread throughout a building. Fire resistant walls, floors and doors, fire and smoke dampers, and gap filling measures are some examples of passive fire protection. Essentially, these are built into the building itself, rather than installing at a later date. The idea is to compartmentalise your building, office or home, to slow the spread of fire or smoke from room to room, giving more time to evacuate and potentially limiting the amount of damage inflicted. The fire resistant doors, walls and floors also work to ensure that your escape routes are protected.
Why are they both needed?
While you might think if you’ve got fire resistant doors, you might not need a sprinkler system, or vice versa, that’s not the best way forward. It’s easy to think that you won’t need a system until the day when you may, but that’s not the chance anyone should take. Systems can fail. Sprinklers can fail from a lack of maintenance, frozen or blocked pipes or just low water pressure. Alarms can fail from dead batteries. On the other hand, fire resistant walls and doors can slow the spread of a fire, but they do not aid in putting them out. Therefore, both active and passive fire protection systems need to be used together to work efficiently.
Why is fire protection software important?
Fire protection systems need to be regularly maintained to ensure maximum safety. It’s easy to forget an annual check or maintenance if your team is servicing dozens of buildings. On the flip side, some building owners are unaware of the integrity of their fire protection systems. Keeping a track of this information in one central place is key to ensuring that your clients are being serviced regularly and your fire protection operatives aren’t cutting corners.
Fire protection software, like Onetrace, when used effectively can ensure that your teams are working to a level acceptable by third party accreditations, and are compliant. This level of accountability is necessary for ensuring building safety and fire protection standards are maintained throughout. Onetrace also allows your team to find reports for buildings and floors in seconds, so should a client need information on a building quickly, it’s just a click away.
If you’re ready to take the next step to better compliance for your fire protection team, it’s as simple as getting in touch or requesting a demo. If you’re not ready to commit, that’s okay - you can try Onetrace completely free for 14 days with zero obligation or commitment! It’s really that simple.