Slowing the spread of a fire through a building is an important step for reducing the ability of a fire to cause widespread damage or to take the lives of building occupants. While sprinkler systems and alarms can be the fire safety systems that people may be the most familiar with, firestops are critical for preventing fires from easily spreading from room to room. However, there are many mistakes and errors that can compromise these firestops, and if you do not invest in having a third-party firestop inspector assess the building, you may not realize that these problems exist.
Gaps That Are Unprotected With Firestops
Many building owners and occupants will pay little attention to the firestops that may be installed throughout the building. In addition to slowing the spread of fire gaps around doors, firestops can also be instrumental in preventing flames from spreading through small gaps around piping or conduits that pass through walls. Unfortunately, it is often the case that one or more of these gaps may not be adequately protected with a firestop, and this can leave that area of the building vulnerable.
Damaged Or Degraded Firestops
Firestops are typically made of very durable putty or other materials that can withstand the test of time very well. However, there is still a chance of these firestops becoming compromised in a variety of ways that may reduce their effectiveness. One example of this type of issue can be the area around the firestop developing cracks or even rotting. If this damage is close enough to the firestop, it may provide a path for the flames to bypass this protection, which may allow them to spread through the conduit. If it is determined that a firestop has suffered damage or has degraded, repairs should be scheduled promptly to ensure that the issue is addressed before a fire has a chance to ignite.
Insufficient Thickness Of The Firestop
The thickness of the firestop will be another factor that needs to be assessed. Unfortunately, it is not possible for a firestop to always completely prevent the flames from spreading. Rather, their primary goal is to slow the fire as much as possible. If the fire stop is not thick enough, it may degrade more rapidly than expected when it is exposed to extremely hot flames. This could severely reduce the protection that it is offering and allow the flames to spread more quickly. The recommended thickness for the firestop will depend on a number of factors that may include the type of firestop material that is used and the particular fire hazard for the room.