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Passive fire protection systems

Jasdeep Singh
Promat initiatives
Technical Services Promat International (Asia Pacific)
New Delhi.

Active measures - involved the control of smoke spread, detection and communication process that informs the occurrence of a fire outbreak and triggers some sort of counteraction towards extinguishing the fire.

Passive measures - more concerned with building structures integrity, compartmentation and the integrity of the building envelope.

Passive Fire Protection is an all encompassing fire safety concept which embraces the passive measures in fire containment design and in addition augment the active measures. It is a proactive approach taken at the building design stage, aimed at addressing a comprehensive solution to the fire problem".

These systems do not require power or water to operate in case of fire.

Present situation
  1. Passive Fire Protection market in India is in developing stage, concentrated on the Passive Fire Protection for load bearing structures (beam and columns) using concrete mostly in the industrial segment.
  2. In the commercial segment, virtually no passive fire protection concept exist. Except for some paints and sprays. Recent fire tragedies in Delhi and other places, led to awareness. Government authorities need to rehink on laying our strict regulations for Passive Fire Protection.
  3. Although fire regulations followed in Indian market are based on National Building Codes (NBC) which follow the basic guidelines of the British Standards (BS), they are not product of application specific.

The scope of application for Passive Fire Protection is in following areas:
  • Structural fire protection
  • Safe escape routes and sage refuge for occupants.
  • Compartmentation and containment of fire spread
  • Preserving the function of active fire safety measures.
  • Life safety of fire service personnel.
The basic applications for Indian Market will be:
  • Steel Protection : Steel looses its strength in temperature in excess of 5500C during a fire.
Risk of collapse of building structure is increased.
  • Mechanical and electrical enclosures: Electrically operated active system should be well protected so that they are functional during fire.
  • Fire rated partitions: Fire Sage lobby and sate escape passage ways are critical to life safety.
  • Fire rates ceilings : Services passing above the unprotected ceiling - a source for fire propagation.
  • Fire rated ducts (Ventilation, smoke extraction, kitchen extract):When the smoke temperature is so high that sheet metal ducts become distorted, making it unable to extract smoke.
  • Fire stopping penetration seals : Fire barriers to prevent propagation through services penetrations.
Proposed solutions
  1. Specific norms pertaining to each application area in the revised building codes.
  2. Stricter enforcement of the norms, by regulatory authorities as Fire Service.
  3. Acceptance of worldwide test standards, besides BS and American Standard of Testing of Materials (ASTM), by regulatory bodies, like NBC, Fire Service, in India.
  4. reduction in import duty structure, considering these as:

    1. Items for life safety
    2. Items for property safety

    Present duty structure : about 68%
  5. Continuing awareness campaign to increase knowledge on the applications, the problems associated and the solutions.
  6. Educating the future architects by incorporating the concept in syllabi of architectural and civil engineering colleges.
  7. More testing institutes in collaboration with international testing institutes like Loss Prevention Council, UK, Warrington's Research Laboratory, UK etc.
Promat Worldwide
Since last 35 years, Promat has been serving the Passive Fire Market, with its invaluable technical expertise. Promat systems have been tested t virtually all International Standards, and Promat has more than 700 valid test reports, covering all the applications pertaining to Passive Fire Protection.

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