The Difference Between Active and Passive Fire Protection Systems

By: Tom Hartel
Having proper fire protection systems in place is essential for any business or residential space. It ensures the safety of its inhabitants as well as reduce the amount of property damage that can be propagated in the event of a fire. But, did you know there are two different types of fire protection methods that work together for optimal fire protection? Active and passive fire protection work together to control the spread of fire while emergency services are in route. Having both Active and Passive fire protection can decrease fire damage to a property and allow for effective evacuations while fire departments respond.

What is the difference?

Active Fire Protection

You most likely think of active fire protection systems when you think of fire safety. Fire alarms and suppression systems are included in this category. Basically, any fire protection system or device that does anything other than just exist is active fire protection. What does that mean? Stay tuned for our passive fire protection description. Alarms detect smoke or fire and alerts people to the danger. Fire extinguishers and fire suppression systems (like sprinklers) work to put out the fire before the fire department arrives. These systems require manual OR automatic action.

The word active in active fire protection is self-explanatory but passive fire protection may be harder to understand. Let us now explain exactly what we mean by passive.

Passive Fire Protection

Passive fire protection systems work by compartmentalizing a building to reduce the spread of a fire. Rooms can be built from fire-resistant floors, walls and doors to impede the progress of a fire from compartment to compartment in an effort to mitigate the growth of a fire. The benefits of keeping the fire restricted to one area are that it allows for better escape routes and limits the damage to sections of a building. Materials usually have a fire resistance rating and not all materials are created equal. While some wood materials may have a fire resistance rating of one hour, masonry and concrete are obviously still a better choice. If you are using drywall in your building, it is important to check the fire-rating as well. Dampers on the ducts in your building are also key in helping contain smoke.

It is helpful to know that you have two systems in place in the event of a fire. When everything is functioning properly, you know you are doing all that you can to prevent and suppress a fire.

At Valley Fire Protection & Plumbing we can help you with active fire protection systems. We specialize in sprinkler installation and repair, which can get you well on your way to a complete fire protection system. Contact us today to get started with a quote.

By: Tom Hartel
I acquired my expertise by directing day-to-day operations of the business for over 20 years. Continuous hard work helped me become a nationally recognized speaker and expert on fire protection, fire sprinklers, special hazards, and plumbing systems. In this blog, I share my knowledge that will hopefully help you make better decisions for your projects.


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