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What is the Difference Between Active and Passive Fire Protection?  

Have you been tasked with fire safety responsibilities in your business, or are you curious about the different aspects of fire safety?   

If so, you may have encountered the terms “active” and “passive” fire protection. But what exactly do these terms mean?  

In essence, active fire protection involves detecting and extinguishing fires. In contrast, passive fire protection involves containing fires to prevent them from spreading further.  

It is important to have active and passive fire protection systems working harmoniously.  

In this article, we will delve deeper into both active and passive fire protection and how it affects your workplace. At trainingEXP, we specialise in passive fire protection, so if you wish to know more, get in touch with one of fire safety experts today. 

What Is Active Fire Protection?  

An active fire protection system requires action to detect or extinguish a fire. This could involve an individual taking manual action, such as using a fire extinguisher, or an electrical system, such as a smoke detector triggering an alarm.  

Examples of Active Fire Protection Systems include:  

  • Fire alarm systems: Alarm systems that are properly maintained are intended to detect fires as soon as possible and provide occupants with sufficient time to evacuate.  
  • Emergency lighting: This should be triggered automatically in case of a power failure during the event of a fire or any other emergency.   
  • Foam, Gas and Sprinkler systems: These devices contain either CO2, inert gases, foam or water intended to put out the fire to reduce the damage and the spread of the fire.  
  • Smoke ventilation: These enable smoke to exit a building while preventing corridors and stairwells from being filled with smoke.  
  • Disabled refuge areas: In an emergency, these are crucial for aiding individuals with disabilities or limited mobility in evacuating the area.  
  • Fire hoses: Trained individuals or the fire service use these to confine fires, necessitating specific water pressure and flow rate.  
  • Fire extinguishers: Multiple fire extinguishers are suitable for different types of fires. To use fire extinguishers correctly, it is necessary to receive appropriate training.  

These active fire protection measures are not exhaustive but are some of the most commonly used. 

What Is Passive Fire Protection?   

While active fire protection measures require action to detect and extinguish fires, passive fire protection systems only need to be installed correctly to be effective.  

However, they can still be installed and remembered. Regular testing and maintenance are necessary to ensure that passive fire protection systems remain compliant.  

Passive fire protection systems are crucial components of a building’s fire safety plan, as they can significantly protect lives, property, and business assets.  

Examples of Passive Fire Protection include:  

  • Fire Doors: Fire doors are specially designed doors that can withstand fire and prevent the spread of flames and smoke.  
  • Fire compartmentation: Fire compartmentation involves dividing a building into smaller areas, each with fire-resistant walls and doors, to prevent the spread of fire and smoke.  
  • Cladding: Cladding is a type of material used to cover the exterior of a building, which can be made from various materials such as metal, wood, or plastic.  
  • Fire and smoke dampers: Fire and smoke dampers are devices installed within heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems that help prevent the spread of fire and smoke throughout a building.  
  • Fire curtains: Fire curtains are flexible barriers made from fire-resistant materials that can be deployed during a fire to prevent the spread of flames and smoke.  

While this list is not all-inclusive, these passive fire protection measures are frequently implemented.

The Importance of Passive Fire Protection Training 

There were around 147,295 fires in 2021. From these fires, there were sadly 280 fire-related fatalities reported. Now imagine a building without passive fire protection….would the number likely be higher? Scary to think, right? 

Passive fire protection is a crucial aspect of building safety, designed to prevent the spread of fire and smoke and protect the occupants and property from harm.  

But here’s the catch: these measures can only work if correctly installed and maintained.  

This is where our passive fire protection training comes in.  

Passive fire protection training equips individuals with the knowledge and skills to ensure that passive fire protection measures are installed and maintained correctly. This training covers a range of topics, from the different types of passive fire protection measures available to how to inspect and maintain fire doors, fire dampers, and other components.   

The benefits of passive fire protection training are immense. One of the most significant benefits is reducing the risk of fire-related injuries and fatalities.  

By ensuring that passive fire protection measures are correctly installed and maintained, individuals can help to prevent the spread of fire and smoke, giving the occupants more time to evacuate the building safely.  

By preventing the spread of fire and smoke, passive fire protection measures can limit the damage caused by fire, reducing repair and replacement costs and minimising disruption to businesses and organisations.  

At trainingEXP, we specialise in passive fire protection training and are the UK’s first to implement VR into our training programmes. We provide the following courses:  

  • Passive Fire Protection Advanced Award (4-day course)  
  • Passive Fire Protection Intermediate Award (2-day course) 
  • Understanding Timber Fire Doors, Maintenance & Inspection for Healthcare Buildings (1-day course) 
  • Understanding Timber Fire Doors, Maintenance & Inspection (1-day course) 

To learn more about our passive fire protection courses, click here.  

Staying Safe with trainingEXP  

At trainingEXP, we prioritise staying up to date with the latest industry trends and regulations. This ensures that our training courses remain relevant and practical, so you can be confident that you receive the most current and comprehensive information.   

We are a UK-wide business with extensive expertise in the construction industry, and our lead trainers have a combined experience of over 35 years in safety and construction. Our focus is on providing top-quality training and proficiency in passive fire protection. 

Safety is the top priority in any construction environment, and passive fire protection is vital in safeguarding buildings and their occupants. That’s why we equip our clients with the latest knowledge, training, and skills to effectively fulfil their working responsibilities. 

So, whether you’re a construction professional looking to enhance your skills or a business owner seeking to ensure the safety of your building and its occupants, get in touch with trainingEXP’s fire safety experts today!