Everything You Need to Know About Fire Stopping

The possible damage resulting from an unintended fire in any structure may be reduced with an efficient fire stopping system that has been appropriately designed and implemented. Fire-related losses may range from economic harm to deaths and destruction of life. The primary goals of firefighting are to prevent fires from spreading, to detect them early, and to protect buildings, people, and property. 

What Exactly Is Fire Stopping?

Closing all possible gaps to prevent fire (which includes heat and smoke) from travelling through several structure compartments is best characterised as fire stopping. A fire is confined by constructing fire-resistant sections that partition the structure (horizontally or vertically). To limit horizontal or vertical fire spread, facilities must guarantee that all apertures and holes are fire-prevented.

A firestop, or fire stopping, is a passive fire protection used to seal around apertures and within joints in a fire-resistant wall or floor assembly. It is designed to retain the capacity of a wall or floor assembly to endure smoke and fire while keeping its fire-resistance rating. Moreover, fire stopping prevents fire from spreading from one area to another in a structure. Because these junctions include gaps and holes between them, fire spreads via weak regions of systems like wall-to-wall, wall-to-floor, and wall-to-ceiling connections. 

Fire Stopping Products

Covering a building’s weak spots offers firefighters extra time in a fire emergency, allowing them to save more lives and property. Firestops prevent exposure to both vertical and horizontal penetrations in a fire-resistant wall or floor assembly. It contains fire and smoke from passing through a building that would otherwise be fire-resistant, such as when a pipe passes through a firewall.

For a structure to establish a complete barrier preventing the propagation of fire and smoke, it must also seal the gaps between fire-resistant components, including the straight line of a wall and the floor above.

There are various sorts of firefighting tactics, including:

  • pillows
  • mortars
  • spray-on mastics
  • boards
  • putties
  • wrap strips
  • pass-through devices
  • intumescent sleeves
  • caulking sealants
  • joint strips

Best Fire-Stopping Techniques

Choosing the finest fire stopping material and how to apply it is dependent on various criteria. They are as follows: 

  • The specifics of how a floor/wall is built and the materials used, such as cement, plaster, prefab timbers, etc.
  • Because the opening among the partitions and at the intersection of walls, flooring, and ceilings, e.g., an annular gap, is too big for a caulking solution, it needed a collar or sleeve beforehand.
  • Different techniques are required for metallic and non-metallic piping inside the wall. Because steel grows and dissolves when heated, steel pipes need a substance to fill the gap left by melting lines. 
  • The surface area and the wall’s hourly rating. Most hourly ratings range from one to four hours; the fire-stopping system should coincide with the wall’s and floor’s hourly ratings.

The following provides a few of the best firefighting tactics and locations where they are advised. 

Sleeves for Fires

Fire sleeves are a pre-formed and easy-to-inspect wire penetrating method. They are intended for use in facilities requiring precise airflow control and low-cost maintenance, like clinics and research centres. 

Fire sleeves are designed to withstand high temperatures while shielding cables, wires, and hoses from burning. They are also resistant to flame and abrasion at 260°C and can tolerate heat up to 1200 °C. Fire sleeves, in addition to safeguarding a building’s cable system, prevent fire from spreading via wire apertures and nozzles. 

Collars for Firefighters 

A fire collar is a type of connection used when plastic tubes penetrate the floor’s wall. It closes pipe penetrations through a structure’s drywall, foundations, and ceiling chambers. A fire collar is often made of steel or temperature-resistant plastic coated inside with a substance that contracts when heated. 

In the event of a fire, plastic pipes often begin to melt, and the expanding interior material of a fire collar shuts up the melting pipe. This significantly reduces the pressure within the tube and inhibits the propagation of flames, smoke, and chemicals from one area to another. Fire collars are an excellent low-cost means of shielding a building’s flammable plumbing system.

Sealants for Fires

Fire sealants seal holes and seams in fire-rated buildings, like walls and floors. Fire sealants fill tiny gaps (up to 2-4 cm in diameter) in a building or structure to prevent a flame from spreading from one area or compartment to another. There are abrasive, intumescent, and silicone firestop sealants available. They might be elastomeric, meaning they can move or grow by 25% to 50%.  

Silicone Firestop Sealants are resistant to various compounds, humidity, and weathering and are elastic and stable at both high and low temperatures. Ablative FireStop Sealants provide time by absorbing the force of fire and protecting what is underneath. They generate insulation by collecting radiant heat from the fire and emitting it as gases when they burn.

Plastic conduits and components that pass through walls and floors are usually protected with intumescent firestop sealants. When heated, intumescents expand, increasing in volume while decreasing in density.

In Summary

The capacity to put out flames is critical to the security of a facility. Fire stopping is required to help prevent fire from spreading across a structure. Smoke and flames may quickly travel through a building without sufficient fire stops, inflicting damage and risking the existence of anyone inside.