Firestop is critical to the integrity of your fire barriers
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There are three critical elements of a building’s passive fire protection system. Fire barriers (walls), fire doors, and fire dampers, together they make up the fire-rated separations that allow for compartmentation of a building in the face of a fire. In high-rise buildings such as hotels and apartment complexes, fire barriers are present not only in walls, but between floors as floor/ceiling assemblies to prevent the fire/smoke from spreading vertically.

How does firestop fit in?
Firestop is used to seal openings and penetrations in fire barriers to maintain the integrity of the barrier. Typical openings include those made for the passage of pipes, vents, wires and more. If a penetration is made in a fire barrier for any reason it must be firestopped and repaired with the correct UL system without delay to maintain the integrity of the fire barriers fire/smoke resistance rating. A well-maintained fire barrier prevents the spread of fire, smoke, and toxic gases from one side of the barrier to the other. This compartmentation allows for safe egress of building occupants and minimizes property damage.

An incorrectly installed firestop system means a breach in the continuity of the fire barrier. To ensure continuity of fire barriers in your building make sure to follow the proper NFPA codes.

Which codes regulate firestopping?
Every opening in a fire barrier shall be protected to limit the spread of fire and restrict the movement of smoke from one side of a barrier to the other. (NFPA 101 8.2.3.2.3)

Fire/smoke barriers shall be continuous in accordance these specifications: Fire compartments shall be formed by fire barriers that are continuous from outside wall to outside wall, from one fire barrier to another or a combination of the two. This continuity must continue through all concealed spaces such as those above the ceiling. (NFPA 101 8.2.2.3*)

Penetrations for cables, conduits, pipes, tubes, exhaust vents, wires, etc, that are created to accommodate electrical, mechanical, plumbing, and communications systems, must be protected by a firestop system or device if they pass through a wall or floor/ceiling assembly constructed as a fire barrier. (NFPA 101 8.3.5.1* Firestop Systems and Devices Required.)

Firestop systems and devices shall have an F rating of at least 1 hour, but not less than the required fire-resistive rating of the fire barrier that has been penetrated. (NFPA 101 8.3.5.1.3)

Not sure what all these codes mean? Call us to ask questions.

Firestop Maintenance Programs Help You Stay Code Compliant
The best way to avoid citations from any Authority Having Jurisdiction, such as the fire marshal, is to set up a firestop maintenance plan. In high-rise buildings there are numerous fire barriers that must be continuously maintained and code compliant, using a scheduled maintenance plan spreads out the cost, making it easier to budget and fund firestopping projects. By performing preventative maintenance on a monthly or quarterly basis, you can ensure compliance and more importantly a safer facility.

Need help with your firestop maintenance? Learn how Prevent Life Safety keeps you compliant.
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