Compartmentalizing your facility is one of the best ways to help contain fire and smoke to its point of origin while waiting for first responders. Compartmentalizing is simply taking a building and dividing it into different sections that can be closed off from the rest of the building during an emergency. One of the many ways to compartmentalize a facility is through the use of a building’s fire walls, partitions, and smoke barriers, which are used to contain the spread of fire and increase the means of evacuation. Unfortunately, the biggest cause of failure in fire barriers is unprotected or improperly protected openings from penetrations. Therefore, proper firestopping will seal off any holes and gaps to help contain fire and smoke to one location. So what exactly is firestopping?
Firestopping has become a key component to a building’s over all fire and life safety system. Firestop materials are used to seal up any spaces that surround penetrating items, such as plastic pipes or wires. This items will melt or change shape during a fire, which is why some firestop materials will expand in the presence of heat. This swelling action seals and stops the spread of fire and smoke to other rooms and even floors within a building.
According to The International Fire Code, “Walls, floors and ceilings must be repaired when damaged, altered, breached or penetrated. Any penetrations found should be repaired with approved methods capable of resisting the passage of fire and smoke”.
Common Firestopping Materials:
- Sealants - (Silicone, Latex, Intumescent)
- Wrap Strips - (Thick, Thin, Wide, Less Wide)
- Composite Sheets
- Bricks / Plugs
- Pre-Fabricated Kits
- Spray Products
However, firestop materials are manufactured in various types and it is important to make sure that the right firestop system is being used. So when using the proper equipment and doing it right, firestopping can help compartmentalize your building to prevent the spread of fire and smoke in the event of an emergency.