Mission Critical – Why firestopping
Firestopping is a crucial part of any life safety system. The main purpose of firestopping is to fill annulus or gaps between penetrating conduit and a fire barrier. By using the firestop to cover the voids, it prevents poisonous smoke and gas from penetrating from one room to the next, thus isolating the fire and smoke to a confined area. By isolating the fire and smoke, not only will you most importantly save lives, but you will also prevent the spread of smoke. By isolating the fire and smoke through firestopping, you will not only prevent wide spread damage often caused by smoke, but you will add time to the evacuation procedure, which saves lives!
Avoid these common mistakes when applying firestop materials to ensure your facility’s safe operation.
- Mixing Materials and Systems. Firestopping has many techniques that must be followed, as well as regulations required for installation. A flaw that commonly seems to appear with unprofessional installers is that they tend to mix firestopping material using different brand of firestopping. This is a major “No-No” and will void the fire rating of the material.
- Inadequate labeling of firestop work. Another common mistake by inexperienced installers is that they don’t label the firestop to indicate system and materials. By labeling the firestop, it provides a future technician the necessary information should the firestop process need to be reapplied or expanded.
- Misuse of New technologies or systems. Often new products are not installed correctly by untrained personnel. For example often cable protection systems (i.e. EZ Paths.) are overfilled beyond the recommended 2/3rds 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.
- . Often instead of using approved firestop material, unprofessional technicians use everything from core cutouts, mortar and concrete, expandable combustible foam and a variety of other unrated materials. None of these materials will meet the fire rating standards and expose the hospital or facility to significant damage.
- Incorrect Bonding. Another common mistake is to bond firestop to combustible material, such as plastic bushing as opposed to bonding to a fire wall or fire barrier.
These are just a few of the many common mistakes made by inexperienced and unprofessional installers of firestop. This is why it is so crucial that the installer be thorough, regularly-trained and experienced. When it comes to Life/Fire Safety Services there is no margin for error!