Fire Stop Technologies, Inc.
Q: So what's the difference between active and passive fire protection?
A: Active fire protection systems are those that are on full-time duty, like sprinkler systems or fire alarms. Passive fire protection systems, on the other hand, are those that allow a fire to act upon the system itself, contain the fire, and protect the structure -- thus saving lives and property. Passive fire protection is made up of both firestopping and fireproofing. Fire Stop Technologies, Inc. provides consulting and installation for these applications.
Q: What are the advantages of passive fire protection strategies?
A: Not only can firestopping and fireproofing help your walls and floors achieve the highest fire-resistance ratings, but these strategies can also protect your property and your building's occupants by retarding the spread of fire, smoke and toxic gases. Passive fire protection can help new buildings achieve and maintain optimal fire safety ratings, and can help older structures as well.
Q: Couldn't I just stick with active fire protection?
A: Active fire protection systems have saved thousands of lives over the years and have been successful tools against fires. However, a one-sided reliance on active fire protection cannot by itself control fire damage and casualties. Flames, deadly smoke and toxic gases can work their way through a building at incredible speed, and sprinklers, alarms, and smoke detectors provide little resistance. Furthermore, even the best active prevention systems can be rendered ineffective by any number of circumstances -- poor installation, improper maintenance, lack of power, water pressure issues, or damage caused by remodeling or reconstruction. The results can be catastrophic -- destruction of property and business, and tragic loss of life. To prevent this, fire codes now require the use of "passive" fire prevention systems known as "firestopping" materials..
Q: What exactly is firestopping?
A: Firestopping is the use of various components to seal openings, conduits and joints in a building's walls and floors to prevent the spread of fire, smoke or gases. Service penetrations, apertures, and cable raceways in a building's walls and floors are closed, literally converting the building into a set of fireproof boxes. In the event of a fire, these proactive measures can afford occupants with all the time they need to escape to safety, and also contain the blaze in time for the fire department to arrive. Fire, smoke, and gases can't escape, so any damage is confined to the smallest possible area.
Q: What is fireproofing?
A: Fireproofing is the application of a spray-applied material to a rated floor, roof, and/or column assembly to protect the structural steel of the building for a given period of time. At temperatures of 800 - 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, steel can bend and buckle under the load of the building and even result in collapse. Spray-applied intumescent paints and fire-resistive materials cling to the steel and prevent heat damage. This preserves the building's structural integrity, provides valuable evacuation time for occupants and firefighters, and protects property.
Q: What types of areas will need firestopping?
A: Firestop systems are crucial for unprotected or poorly-protected openings such as:
Structural, mechanical, and electrical through-penetrations (beams, piping, wiring, etc.)
Any unprotected opening can not only void your fire-resistance rating, but also defeat the fire safety plan of your entire building by allowing fire and smoke to spread. FireStop Technologies Inc., uses materials from various manufacturers to seal these types of openings, so damage is controlled and contained.
Q: What types of materials do you use?
A: Fire Stop Technologies Inc. applies various brands of cementitious (cement- or mortar-like) products that meet or exceed all recommended performance standards, providing fire ratings of up to 4 hours. Cementitious fireproofing has time and again out-performed other types of fireproofing. Fire Stop Technologies also applies intumescent paints from various manufacturers depending on the particular application.
Firestop materials include intumescent substances (that swell and close openings when exposed to heat), cementitious mortars (non-generic mortars specially formulated for firestopping), silicones (rubber-like, heat-resistant foam sealants), firestop "pillows" (plastic or fibreglass bags containing intumescent materials), mineral wool, and rubber compounds. These materials are applied or combined in a way specific to the pipe, cable, beam or other item penetrating the wall or floor, and specific to the construction of the wall or floor itself.
Q: What's the future of firestopping?
A: America's economy is swiftly evolving from manufacture-based to service-based, and Fire Stop Technologies are playing a key role. As more office buildings, schools, hospitals, hotels and resorts are built, fire safety ratings will be an important part of their construction. Not to mention that security -- especially built-in building security and stability -- has become a priority in recent years. Firestopping and fireproofing can not only protect property, it can save many thousands of lives. Fire Stop Technologies is perfectly positioned to meet this need, now and in the future.