Facility managers: Watch out for these common firestop mistakes
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As you know, firestopping is a crucial part of any life safety system. By maintaining the integrity of your fire barriers, you work towards isolating fire and smoke. This not only helps prevent property damage, but can most importantly save lives. If you’re interested in learning more about how firestop works to protect your facility read “Firestop is Critical to the Integrity of Your Barriers”.

5 Common Firestopping Mistakes
Whether you use outside contractors or apply firestop in-house, it’s crucial that these common mistakes are avoided to ensure your facility’s safe operation:

1. Mixing manufacturer products in the same opening. Firestopping has many application techniques that must be followed. You must ensure that you are using the proper UL systems and materials for each penetration. A flaw that commonly appears is mixing different brands of firestopping material in the same penetration. This will void the fire rating of the UL system.
2. Inadequate Labeling of Firestop Work. Another common mistake is not labeling the firestop to indicate the system and materials. By labeling the firestop, it not only provides a future technician the necessary information should the firestop need to be reapplied or repaired, but is also required by NFPA code.
3. Misuse of New Technologies or UL Systems. Often new products are not installed correctly. For example often cable protection systems (i.e. EZ Paths.) are overfilled beyond the recommended capacity. Another example is using firestop muffins that are designed to protrude from a hole. Instead they are tucked-in with space surrounding the muffins, rendering them ineffective for trapping smoke and fire.
4. Using unapproved or non compliant products. Often instead of using approved firestop material, items such as mortar and concrete, expandable combustible foam and a variety of other unrated materials are used. None of these materials will meet the fire rating standards and can expose the hospital to significant damage.
5. Not following the UL system requirements for proper material installation. Another common mistake is not using the proper material or correct UL systems. Not following UL system instructions to completion can affect the integrity of the rating. There are over 5,000 UL systems in existence. The correct UL system depends on the fire-rating of the barrier, the penetrating item, and several other factors.

 

These are just a few of the many mistakes that are commonly made. This is why it is so crucial that you not only are familiar with NFPA 80 and common UL systems, but you choose an installer that is thorough, regularly-trained, and experienced. When it comes to barrier management there is no margin for error.

PREVENT has trained and experienced technicians that always ensure your fire walls are properly sealed using the appropriate UL systems and materials. Interested in setting up a firestop maintenance plan for your facility? Get a free quote today!

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