Passive Fire Protection
You may have heard the term ‘passive fire protection’ used with regard to your business premises or workplace. This is simply a form of fire safety precaution that you install within your workplace that effectively remains dormant for the most part, but becomes active during a fire emergency.
Although quite passive by name, it is a very important component of your structural fire protection within your building. Passive protection elements are designed to help contain fires and prevent or slow their progress to other parts of the building. During a fire emergency situation, this will allow enough time for all personnel, visitors and customers to safely evacuate the building and for the arrival of the fire brigade.
Passive fire protection can also help to ensure that flames, hot gases and smoke are held back to allow the emergency services safer access to your building to rescue trapped occupants and tack the fire.
All buildings require passive fire protection, whether it be a domestic residence, business or commercial premises. There are several options available to meet the needs of standards of fire resistance. Some will be more appropriate than others depending on your requirements. Failure to meet your passive fire prevention requirements could result in your insurance claim being invalidated.
Examples of passive fire protection
Fire doors: The main purpose of a fire door is to contain a fire and prevent it from spreading. A fire door is also use to protect a designated fire escape route from the building. The doors should be fitted with intumescent fire and smoke seals, either along the edges of the door leaf or around the frame.
New build houses and commercial developments need to be installed with fire-resistant walls, floors, and doors. Older existing buildings can be protected by compartmentalising the layout with fire resistant partition walls. All passive fire protection systems must comply with the associated listing and approval use and compliance in order to provide the effectiveness expected by building codes. Any new build, modernisation or extension works must be carried out in accordance with The Building Regulations 2010, Fire Safety, Approved Document B.
If you have any doubts about the best way to ensure passive fire protection provision in your premises, you should seek the advice of a competent person.
Fire risk assessments
As a business owner, you have a legal responsibility to ensure your business, personnel, visitors and customers are protected from the dangers of fire. As the ‘Responsible Person’ you are at risk of prosecution if you fail to comply with the law. The assessment needs to be completed by a ‘Competent Person’.
What other fire safety precautions should I consider?
When faced with the possibility of a fire breaking out at your workplace, the most important consideration is for the safety of your employees and any other people on your premises. You need to be able to evacuate the building safely and quickly in the event of a fire. To do this effectively you should make sure you have adequate emergency lighting in place to enable people to safely escape the building, especially when loss of mains power may plunge rooms into darkness or make it hard to see the emergency exits.
For more information about DRAM emergency lighting services, see our page here.