Active Vs Passive Fire Protection – Everything You Need to Know

Active and passive fire protection are both vital components of an effective fire system within a building. Although both types of fire protection perform different functions, having both in place can ensure a building, its contents, and users remain safe in the event of a fire.

Here at CPFP, we specialise in designing, installing and maintaining quality passive fire protection solutions across the UK. From residential and commercial buildings to industrial units, we help ensure the safety of people and infrastructure in a variety of buildings. We have put together this guide to help you understand the main differences between active and passive fire protection.

See more: Passive Fire Protection – Everything You Need to Know About Passive Fire Protection

Active Vs Passive Fire Protection

Active and passive fire protection systems work hand in hand to reduce the damage of fire to buildings and people by stopping the spread of harmful smoke, containing fire in compartments, and extinguishing flames. The systems are not in competition; they are simply alternative versions of fire protection.

This guide will not explain whether you need active or passive fire protection, as both systems are key to an effective fire management strategy. Instead, we will explain how each system can be leveraged for maximum benefit tailored to your building and requirements.

Active Fire Protection

As the name suggests, active fire protection solutions use or require action to minimise the effects of fire. The goal of active fire protection is to suppress fires to save lives.
Active fire protection solutions may be manual or automated, for example triggered by the detection of smoke. Fire alarms and trigger responses also count as active fire protection solutions as they require a prompt or active intervention to work.

Active Fire Protection Examples

Examples for active fire protection systems are commonly known, such as fire extinguishers, fire blankets, or sprinkler systems. The most obvious active fire protection solution is firefighting by the emergency services.

Depending on your building, its contents, and other factors, some active fire protection solutions may be better suited than others. For a kitchen in a house, for example, a fire blanket and fire alarm are likely sufficient measures. Alternatively, in a busy commercial building, an automated large-scale sprinkler system may be effective at supressing fire quickly.

In certain scenarios, specialised adapted active fire protection systems may be required. Data centres, for example, often use gas suppression systems for fire protection as water may damage expensive IT infrastructure.

Passive Fire Protection

Passive fire protection measures are installations built into the structure of a building to prevent the spread of fire. The measures do not put out fire and instead contain and control it until emergency services arrive or active fire protection systems are triggered.

No manual intervention is required for passive fire protection systems as they are part of a building and remain passive even during a fire. These measures seal gaps, compartmentalise a building, and restrict the path of fire.

The aims of passive fire protection are to limit the spread of fire and smoke, protect escape routes and protect building structure. These aims help to increase the amount of time emergency services have to arrive, reduce structural damage and save lives.

See more: Passive Fire Protection – Why is Passive Fire protection Important?

Passive Fire Protection Examples

There are a wide variety of passive fire protection measures, some installed once a building is complete, and others applicable at any time. Building users may be familiar with fire doors or fire shutters, as these are likely used by people within the building. More discrete or covert passive fire protection measures include cavity barriers and fire compounding.

At CPFP we provide comprehensive passive fire protection services from our base in Bristol across the UK. We specialise in providing:

  • Cavity barriers – fitting fire-stopping materials in void spaces within walls and more to prevent passage of smoke, fire, and harmful gases.
  • Penetration sealing – sealing cavities surrounding penetrations to prevent passage of fire.
  • Fire compounding – substituting minimal spaces with penetrations passing through with fire-stopping materials.

See our services >

All passive fire protection solutions are made from fire-resisting materials; materials that withstand and resist fire for a period of time. The three ways of resisting include: resisting structural collapse, resisting passer of smoke and gas (integrity) and resisting heat conduction (insulation).

Find out more about passive fire protection materials.

Learn More with CPFP

As certified installers of passive fire protection, our team at CPFP are on hand to answer any queries you have, as well as provide quality design and installation. Based in Bristol, we install and maintain passive fire protection solutions across the UK, using our advanced quality control methods. Due to our extensive experience, we ensure compliance using only tested methods of installation and providing comprehensive documentation management for fire registers.

If you are looking to improve your current fire protection solution or install a brand-new fire protection system in your building, do not hesitate to get in touch with our team.

Find out more about CPFP >

Speak to Us Today.

Address: The Old Angel, Flax Bourton, Bristol, BS48 3QQ
Phone: 0117 450 9943