How Does Fire Stopping Work?
The Fire Stopping principle is based on compartmentalisation. Building compartments will confine the fire in the area where it started. The main compartment structures such as floors, walls and ceiling assemblies are fire resistant up to a certain, specified time frame.
Various service penetrations run through these structures as buildings are equipped with electricity, network connections, water, air and gas. Compartments also need joints for their functionality.
Flames, heat and smoke will spread through any opening in the compartment if not fire stopped. Correctly installed Fire Stopping solutions will keep the fire where it started.
Basics of Fire Stopping
In the event of a fire in a building, and especially if the Fire Stop is insufficient, the fire and smoke spread very quickly through the building. Tragically, it has been established that the vast majority of victims of the fire were not even in the room where the fire started. And 80% of fire deaths are related to inhalation of smoke and toxic fumes.
Firestop products prevent the spread of flames, heat and smoke. The rest of the building will be safe and will allow safe evacuation and recovery.
An example of how fast smoke spreads:
You are in a room that is six meters long, six meters wide and six meters high. A fire just started in the apartment next door. There is a hole the size of a pencil in the wall. Already after 3 minutes and 40 seconds there is so much smoke in your room that visibility is less than 40 cm and there is immediate suffocation risk.
What is Compartmentalisation?
One of the fundamentals of passive fire protection is the compartmentalisation of buildings. To limit the spread of fire and smoke within a building we must compartmentalise: divide the space into several smaller sections in order to confine the fire in the only space it was declared, during the time necessary for evacuation.
How is it done?
To ensure the most effective partitioning of a building, the walls and floors of compartments must have a fire-resistance degree corresponding to the type of buildings (please refer to the UK building regulations)
It is important to note that these compartments are equipped and overlapped by multiple elements: doors, hatches, partitions, plastic, metal tubes, cables etc. All fire proofing caulks around these elements must therefore make it possible to reconstruct the fire-resistance degree of the wall by providing fire resistance at least equal to that of the building structure.
It is via this method that we can achieve a powerful subdivision.