What is the difference between active and passive fire protection? Firestopping FAQs

There can be confusion as to why you need both active and passive fire protection, but to achieve the best fire protection for people residing in a building you will need to have the perfect harmony between both systems. This will then allow well thought out fire protection procedures and measures to reflect the type of building or dwelling they are installed within. For example, a hospital will be different to an office.

Active fire protection

Active fire protection is a group of systems that require some amount of action or motion to work efficiently in the event of a fire. Actions may be manually operated such as breaking the glass box of a fire alarm, or automatic such as heat, smoke, or CO₂ activating sprinklers. Ultimately, it is about detecting the fire and being able to evacuate the building.

Active fire protection systems can include but are not limited to:

  • Detection systems
  • Alarm systems
  • Sprinkler/ water mist systems
  • Other fire suppression systems e.g., gaseous
  • Smoke control systems

Passive fire protection

Passive fire protection is a product or system that provides protection without any changes or requirements for activation or motion. Ultimately, it means containing the fire to prevent it from spreading further.

Passive fire protection systems can include but are not limited to:

  • Compartment walls and floors
  • Fire-resisting walls and partitions
  • Fire protection to the structural frame of the building
  • Suspended ceilings
  • Fire-resisting glazing
  • Fire doors and hardware
  • Fire-resisting ductwork
  • Linear gap seals
  • Penetration seals for pipes, cables and other services
  • Cavity barriers

To learn more about passive fire protection, sign up to our monthly webinar called Effective Passive Fire Protection for Service Penetrations in Buildings or email us at technical@quelfire.co.uk.

Alec Purdie

This question was answered by Alec Purdie

Technical Manager

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