Passive fire protection in it’s simplest meaning refers to the installation of materials into the structure of buildings with the purpose of slowing and preventing the spread of smoke and fire and to maximize the available time for the building occupants to evacuate to an area of refuge.
When people hear about the fire protection in a building they usually think about the fire alarm, fire extinguishers and the sprinkler systems, however this is only one aspect of the fire protection. Active Fire Protection or AFP is a system that requires some amount of motion or action in order to work efficiently in the event of a fire. Actions may be manually operated like a fire extinguisher or be automatic like an alarm.
Passive Fire Protection or PFP is a system that separates a building in to compartments through the use of fire rated floors and walls, this is known as compartmentalization. Compartmentalizing a building in to smaller sections will help to slow or prevent the spread of smoke and fire from one room to the next. Passive fire protection can also limit the amount of damage done to a building and allow additional time for it’s occupants to escape.
PFP includes the use of fire doors, fire and smoke dampers, fire walls and fire floors. Fire dampers prevent the spread of smoke and fire through the buildings ductwork systems. Fire doors are designed to trap smoke and flames while allowing occupants the opportunity to escape.
Self closing mechanisms once opened will allow the fire doors to slam shut to minimize exposure time which could allow a fire to spread to other areas of the building. Firestopping separates a building in to fire rated compartments.
Structural Fire Protection includes the insulation of materials through the use of coatings and boarding systems to delay or prevent a fire-induced temperature rise in the structural members of a building. Walls, floors, columns and beams fall in to the structural fire protection category and can be protected by various methods such as intumescent paint, boarding systems and flexible blanket systems.
Changes can take place throughout the life of a building, including the components of passive fire protection.
Passive fire protection doesn’t sound an alarm or spray water from sprinkler systems but it still needs to be maintained. It is essential to inspect, maintain and undertake corrective actions on all passive fire protection systems to maximize it’s reliability and to ensure it continues to meet the requirements of the relevant design, installation and commissioning procedures until the next inspection.
Any defects must be remedied as soon as possible, with provisional measures put in place to compensate in the meantime as the fire safety in the building will be reduced until the defect is rectified.
The answer is usually no. Most products and materials from different manufacturers have not been tested together in a controlled environment and therefore should never be mixed unless you have written assurances from both product manufacturers stating it is safe to do so.