What Does Fire Protection Mean?
Fire protection refers to measures taken to prevent fires from igniting, reducing the impact of an uncontrolled fire, or extinguishing fires.
Fire protection measures are a broad category that include:
- Safety drills
- Education and training on fire risks and safety
- Workplace inspections aimed at identifying fire hazards
- Fire-resistant building materials and designs
- Safe operations
- Maintenance programs for fire suppression systems
Safeopedia Explains Fire Protection
There are two categories of fire protection systems: active and passive.
Active Fire Protection Systems
These systems offer protection by controlling, suppressing, or extinguishing fires.
Active fire protection systems include condensed aerosol systems, automatic sprinkler systems, dry chemical systems, and clean agent systems.
Fire alarm systems are also considered active, as their smoke and heat-detecting sensors respond to the presence of fire. They can also be connected to extinguishing systems, which activate when the alarm sounds.
Passive Fire Protection Systems
These systems are components of a building, its infrastructure, or adjacent design elements that provide constant fire protection, without needing to be used or activated.
These passive measures include building designs that limit that spread of fire, fire-resistant construction materials, fire walls and doors, and signage with fire safety information such as evacuation routes or reminders to remain low to reduce exposure to smoke.
Many passive fire protection systems are designed to compartmentalize a fire, preventing or slowing its spread to other areas of the building. These systems are rated according to how long they can withstand standardized exposure tests. For instance, a wall rated for one hour will be capable of preventing a standard fire from spreading for a duration of one hour.
Common Fire Protection Systems
- Dry pipe systems: automatic sprinklers attached to a piping system that supplies pressurized air or nitrogen
- Wet fire sprinkler systems: these are automatic sprinklers attached to a water supply system
- Dry chemical fire suppression systems: these deploy pressurized dry chemicals
- Gaseous fire suppression systems: these release fire extinguishing gases, such as carbon dioxide (CO2)
- Foam suppression systems: spraying foam on a fire cuts off its oxygen supply, helps control it rapidly, and is especially useful when dealing with flammable liquids that have ignited