When you’re a building manager and owner, there’s a lot you need to consider when it comes to keeping your property and the people who use it safe. That’s why it’s essential to understand what active and passive fire protection you need. These come in handy as an excellent first line of defence when a fire breaks out.

But first, you need to know the difference between the two. Then, you must understand which measures are best suited for your property.

So, we’ve broken down what you need to know about active and passive fire protection.

What is active fire protection?

When a system involves fighting a fire, that is what is known as active fire protection. Although some examples include systems that get initiated by flames, a rise in temperature or the presence of smoke, the response may or may not be automatic.

Some common examples of active fire protection systems include:

There are different types of active protection too. These include:

  • Detection. Systems that use sensors to recognise the presence of either heat, smoke or flames and alert building occupants. Smoke and heat alarms are the best examples of this type of active fire protection.
  • Suppression. These systems are useful for putting out flames either automatically or manually. Fire extinguishers and sprinkler systems are a good example of this type.

What is passive fire protection?

On the other hand, passive fire protection refers to systems containing flames or restricting their spread into other parts of your building. Some common types are:

  • Fire doors
  • Fire walls
  • Dampers
  • Fire seals
  • Smoke doors

When it comes to passive fire protection, there are several categories to consider, such as:

  • Structural fire protection. Specific fire protection systems insulate steel structures for a defined period to protect them from the effects of the high temperatures during a fire. This may include measures such as spray insulation, concrete encasement or the use of fire-rated boards.
  • Compartmentation. This applies to compartments within your building that limit the spread of fire or restrict the movement of smoke. Some examples could be stairwells, corridors or high-risk locations like electrical rooms. This type of passive fire protection is particularly vital for hotels, hospitals, educational facilities and apartment buildings which usually have large numbers of occupants.
  • Protection of openings. Some passive fire protection is purposely put in place to protect the spread of fire through gaps that facilitate movement or ventilation for building occupants. These include doors, windows, and other voids within your building. The protection of these openings is a vital piece of passive fire protection as it ensures that the fire-resisting performance of your systems are not compromised and is required by the Building Code of Australia.

Do I need both active and passive fire protection?

It may seem like active fire protection measures – that detect heat, smoke and flames – might be enough to keep your property safe from fires. After all, active fire protection elements are the first things that come to mind when we think of fire safety. However, the complex nature of modern buildings means passive protection is also a crucial element to complete your fire safety system.

Both active and passive fire protection must work together to keep your building safe. One type alone cannot reliably contain or limit the spread of flames.

Whether active or passive, make sure your building has the proper fire protection in place. It is therefore wise to choose a fire safety provider, like Global Fire, that can advise and help you with both active and passive fire systems suited for your building.

Need help with your building’s fire protection system? Contact Global Fire. Our expert team will ensure a smooth and worry-free process. Whether you’re looking at installation or regular inspection and maintenance, we’re here to help you ensure your fire safety system is in its best condition and up to standard. For a wide range of fire protection solutions, call us now on 1300 88 70 18 or email inquiries@globalfire.com.au.