Active fire protection is one of the most important elements to consider and plan for when building any type of modern structure. With furnishings for buildings, factories and commercial areas becoming increasingly more and more sophisticated and high-tech, it is paramount that said surfaces be equipped with systems capable of immediately detecting any potential fire hazards, in order to protect both said furnishings and the people making use of them.
Fortunately, recent decades have seen considerable developments in the area of active fire protection, with systems becoming more sensitive and equipped with state-of-the-art technology, to ensure maximum efficiency. This, in turn, has resulted in the number of serious indoor fire-related incidents across the western world decreasing over the years, providing a safer and more protected environment for modern citizens to live, work and shop in.
Even as fire protection systems become more developed and sophisticated than ever before, however, one question continues to arise among uninitiated property managers and those interested in the field of fire detection and prevention, namely ‘what is active fire protection’? This is a term which often occurs in the context of domestic and commercial properties, and many laymen and women are still no more than vaguely aware of exactly what it means.
As specialists in fire protection systems, Thermotech Solutions are in a prime position to clarify this particular doubt, which arises just as frequently among our customers as anywhere else. It is in that spirit that we have decided to dedicate a blog post to the subject, and use it to attempt to answer a few questions, namely what is active fire protection, what categories are encompassed within it, and what mechanisms are used to enforce it. Our effort to offer clarification on those subjects is contained in the lines below.
Active Fire Protection: A Definition
What is active fire protection, then, and how does it differ from passive fire protection? Quite simply, active fire protection is the component of fire detection and prevention which reacts to action or motion, while passive fire protection is the component which seeks to contain or slow down the spread of a fire.
What this means, in layman’s terms, is that the role of active fire protection within the fire containment process is to detect, alert about, and seek to eliminate the fire hazard; passive fire protection, on the other hand, is in place in case the active component fails in its objective, and is put in place as more of a failsafe measure, rather than an active way to combat a fire hazard.
Most of the more immediately identifiable ways to combat and put out a fire insert themselves within the active component of fire protection, as they actively seek to detect and react against a fire. Some of the most common ways in which active fire protection can be enforced are detailed in the lines below.
Common Active Fire Protection Measures
Having gained a basic understanding of what constitutes active fire protection, it is important that property managers and layman citizens alike be aware of some of the most common measures for fire detection and prevention which can be considered to fit into the umbrella term ‘active fire prevention.’
As noted above, many of the most identifiable ways of combatting an early-onset fire can be considered active fire protection measures. This includes sprinkler systems, standpipes, fire extinguishers or preventive foam, among other solutions.
These measures are typically divided into two categories: fire detection and fire suppression. As the names give away, one of these categories relates to measures destined to point out that a fire has broken out, while the other deals with measures meant to ensure it is extinguished quickly and efficiently.
Common fire detection solutions include smoke alarms, to bring attention to a fire, and door release systems, to ensure individuals within fire-threatened premises are able to evacuate them safely. Fire suppression measures, on the other hand, include fire extinguishers, automatic or manual sprinkler systems, standpipe systems, preventive foam or even a non-toxic gaseous agent which acts upon and extinguishes the flames.
One additional measure, which cannot be considered to fit within either of these categories, is oxygen reduction. Oxygen reduction systems are commonly known as hypoxic air systems, and are usually put into place as a preventive measure, rather than to detect or suppress a fire. The way these new systems operate is by reducing the oxygen levels within a certain space where a fire hazard is suspected, so that said fire cannot be ignited; in this way, the fire can be prevented ahead of time, rather than dealt with when it is already too late. While not as widespread as the other active fire protection measures listed in this section, this new measure is quickly gaining traction, and could become more widespread over the next few years.
The lines above have attempted to give an overview on what is meant by the term ‘active fire protection’, how it differs from passive fire protection, and what some of the most common measures contained within this definition are. Their objective was to ensure property managers and layman readers alike are aware of precisely what this common fire prevention term stands for, so that they may know what to expect should it ever come up with regards to a property or situation of their own.
As fire prevention and protection specialists, Thermotech Solutions believe this type of knowledge is invaluable and essential for its customers to have, and that the more informed our customers are, the better we will be able to work with them, advise them and serve them in the purpose of ensuring their properties, their furnishings and the people working, living or otherwise taking advantage of them are adequately protected against common fire hazards. As such, it is our sincere hope that the paragraphs above have been useful in answering the question of what is active fire protection, and has succeeded in giving our customers a little more knowledge on the subject.