To protect a building from fire, fire protection, prevention, and suppression systems are all essential. However, some individuals may be unsure of the differences between these systems. Understanding how fire suppression, prevention, and protection systems interact is essential rather than using these terms interchangeably. We will define these three systems and discuss how they work together to protect people and buildings in this article.
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A building’s occupants are protected and the damage caused by a fire is minimized by a fire protection system. The overall objective is to reduce potential repair costs while simultaneously providing the broadest possible window for a secure evacuation.
Systems that protect against fire can be active or passive. Passive fire protection refers to the structural measures that prevent the passage of flames and smoke, whereas active systems, such as fire alarms and sprinklers, are intended to assist in the fight against fires. We recommend our article, “What is an active and passive fire protection system?” if you want to learn more about this topic.
The numerous advantages of passive fire protection make it an essential component of any building’s structural fire protection.
- Passive Fire measures give building occupants and emergency services more time to respond and act in the event of a fire by limiting the spread of smoke and fire.
- Limiting the spread of toxic smoke can assist in preventing thermal damage and poisoning to occupants in close proximity to the fire, and additional time for occupants to evacuate can mean the difference between life and death.
- Isolating a fire to a single room within the building makes it easier for emergency services to contain and extinguish it, and passive fire protection gives them more time to respond and begin fighting the fire.
In addition to providing increased safety for occupants, passive fire protection also reduces structural damage to building components. Reduces the likelihood of damage to other parts of the building from smoke and fire by limiting the spread of the fire to a single area and isolating it there. Using fireproofing and fireproofing accessories can also help with fire protection.
This effectively reduces the overall cost of any remediation work required after an incident and reduces the damage caused by any potential fire.
As a result, Passive Fire Protection can help lower your building’s insurance costs by lowering the likelihood of widespread structural damage. This increases the building’s value and improves the safety of its occupants.
Common types of passive fire protection
- calcium silicate boards,
- spray fibers,
- cement composites (e.g., plastics and phenolic),
- lightweight cementitious,
- thin film intumescent (solvent/water-borne), and
- thick film intumescent (epoxy).
The fire performance function of the aforementioned PFP materials and others varies when exposed to fire. When deciding which PFP material is best for the job, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Epoxy intumescent coatings are the most common type of passive fire protection used in modern, high-risk industries like oil, gas, and petrochemical facilities. These include strength, durability, operating environment, weight, system integrity, corrosion performance, health and safety impacts, ease of installation, cost-effectiveness, and fire scenario.
Coatings that, in addition to providing full corrosion protection for the life of the installation, react to heat by swelling in a controlled manner to many times their original thickness in the event of a fire to produce a carbonaceous char, which serves as an insulating layer to protect the steel substrate, are suitable for protecting structural steel from extreme heat caused by hydrocarbon fires because the oil and gas market involves activities such as exploration, production, storage, and transportation of highly flammable liquids and gases. Intumescent
They are typically applied by spray or trowel using a two-pack of epoxy coating material directly onto a clean, prepared steel surface. The system is ridged and permanently bonded after curing. Depending on the type of fire and the protection requirements, the system is typically reinforced with a steel or glass/carbon fiber mesh with a middle thickness.
Intumescent epoxy PFP typically has a thickness of 3 to 20 mm. The system will last a very long time without needing to be maintained, resist corrosion well, and withstand heavy mechanical impacts.
Risks, Dangers, And Critical Safety Factors
The need for fire protection is typically driven by the process of identifying dangers like corrosion that results in the release of fuel (oil, gas, LNG, etc.) or damage from an impact. that may result in fires of varying ferocity, including pool fires and jet fires, thermal shock, and explosions.
Specific risks like the escalation of the incident, structural collapse, blocked escape routes, and the ensuing loss of life or assets can be identified from these hazards.
As a result, the safety-critical elements are identified; Primary structural steel, divisions (bulkheads and decks), pipes, vessels, and their supporting structures, as well as items like ESD valves and actuators, are typical examples. These essential safety components may require fire protection.
Why Is Fire Safety So Important?
In most nations, fire safety is required by law.
Fire protection systems’ primary function is to:
Protect people and assets at the same time by preventing smoke and fire from spreading from one area of a building to another, allowing for the safe escape of building occupants, minimizing damage to the building’s structure and neighboring structures, and reducing the risk of collapse for emergency services.
It is essential to provide protection in order to guarantee that the item being protected will continue to serve its purpose until either the incident is under control or the installation is evacuated.
Protection Is Typically Used For The Following Reasons:
- Firewalls, bulkheads, and decks: to keep smoke and heat out and keep personnel safe, as well as to provide insulation.
- Steel structures: to stop jet fires from causing structural damage, fracture, and escalation.
- Supports for pipes and vessels: to stop a building from falling apart.
- Vessels: to stop the temperature and pressure of the inventory from rising (which could cause an explosion).
- Protection of the pipes: to avoid jet fire fracture and escalation.
- Valves and actuators with ESD: to ensure the confinement of the shutdown and avoid escalation