Why is Fire Stopping Important?
Fire stopping is a critical component of fire safety in any building. It is the process of sealing gaps and penetrations in fire-rated walls, floors and ceilings to prevent the spread of fire and smoke. If fire stops are not installed correctly, both fire and smoke can rapidly dominate a building, structurally damaging it and risking the lives of its occupants. Additionally, fire-stopping supports emergency services when arriving at the scene of a fire. Through compartmentation, fire and rescue service have more time to get the fire under control and rescue anyone still in the building.
Why is fire-stopping important?
- It Protects Life Safety: Fire stopping helps prevent the spread of fire, smoke and toxic gases, allowing people more time to evacuate the building safely.
- Prevents Fire Spread: Without proper fire stopping, fire and smoke can spread through openings in walls, floors and ceilings, accelerating the growth of a fire and putting the entire building at risk.
- Maintains Structural Integrity: Fire stopping helps maintain the structural integrity of the building, allowing it to remain standing longer in the event of a fire. This, in turn, helps limit the extent of damage and allows firefighters to access and control the fire more easily.
- Meets Building Codes: Fire stopping is required by building codes and regulations to ensure that buildings are constructed in a safe and secure manner. Proper fire-stopping is essential for obtaining building permits and passing fire inspections.
- Protects Property: Fire stopping helps protect property by limiting the extent of fire damage. This, in turn, reduces the cost of repairs in the event of a fire, which minimizes the interruption of business operations and prevents the loss of valuable possessions and equipment.
Fire compartmentation means to contain a fire to one area or compartment of a building, preventing the spread of fire between compartment walls and floors, for as long as possible. This is compromised by openings (i.e. doors and windows), service penetrations (i.e. ducts, pipes, and cables) and gaps in construction. Different passive fire protection methods are used to maintain the fire rating of compartment walls and floors compromised by these various service penetrations and openings which pass through compartmentation.
Service penetration seals and linear gap seals are mostly referred to as fire stops. While cavity barriers can be categorised as fire stops, they are mostly considered to be a separate category of passive fire protection.
When providing work as a Fire Safety Consultancy, choosing fire-stopping products that have been tested and actively installing them in accordance with the manufacturer’s installation guidelines, limits the risk of destructive fire.
Different Types of Fire Service Penetrations include:
- Combustible pipes which pass through fire-rated construction are typically fire-stopped using proprietary seals and fire collars/wraps or fire-rated sleeving.
- Ducts passing through fire-rated construction.
- Openings in through fire-rated construction where cables/wires pass are kept to a minimum and as small as possible and any gaps around the penetration are fire stopped and sealed with suitable fire-stopping material.
- Structural steel beams in general are painted or boxed with intumescent materials with fire-rated construction to ensure the structure of the building is stable for a sufficient time.
- Cavity Barriers are protective measures situated in cavities, in line with each floor of a building and at the junction of any fire-rated walls and the external wall. These are typically pieces of fire-stopping material that work to close a cavity between two compartments.
In conclusion, fire-stopping is an essential component of fire safety in any building. It helps protect life safety, prevent the spread of fire, maintain structural integrity, meet building codes and protect property. Why not get in touch with ORS today to learn more about how we can provide expert fire safety consultancy services for your project?