With a major winter storm already hitting the south and creating issues, I can’t help but think about all the potential fire risks that increase during this season. Heating equipment, cooking, holiday decorations as well as candles all contribute to an increased risk of a fire hazard. However, a significant portion of fires during winter are caused by heating equipment. Since heating equipment runs a lot longer during the coldest months, there is more opportunity for that equipment to cause a fire. Not to mention, snow and ice conditions cause trouble for firefighters responding to a fire call. That’s why it is important to make sure a building’s Passive Fire Protection Systems have been properly maintained to help protect the building and its occupants during a fire.
Fire doors prevent the spread of fire and smoke between the facility’s fire barriers. According to The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 80 requires that, “Fire door assemblies must be inspected and tested annually, with a written record of the inspection signed and kept for the inspection by the AHJ.”
Dampers prevent the spread of fire and smoke within the facility’s ductwork. NFPA 80 and 105, “Each damper shall be tested and inspected every 4 years, except in hospitals, which is every 6 years.”
Fire walls, ceilings and floors help to contain both fire and smoke to its original location. Firestopping is the maintenance of the facility’s fire barriers. According to the 2009 International Fire Code (IFC), “Firewalls, partitions, smoke barriers, ceilings and floors must be maintained annually and properly repaired, restored or replaced when damaged, altered, breached or penetrated.”
Photoluminescent Egress Path Marking Systems and Exit Signs
Photoluminescent egress path markers and exit signs continue to glow in smoky conditions, allowing people to navigate their way to safety. 2009 IFC and IBC requires approved luminous egress path markings outlining exit paths must be provided in buildings having occupied floors located more than 75 ft. above the lowest level of fire department vehicle access.”
Over all Passive Fire Protection Systems compartmentalize a building into sections to help contain and slow the spread of the fire and smoke, while providing a safe evacuation route for building occupants. This allows first responders the chance to save lives and properties even when working against winter conditions.