What is the difference between Active and Passive Fire Protection?

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 seperates 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 seperates a building in to fire rated compartments.

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