Fire Protection Engineering (FPE) has gained tremendous recognition in recent times. It has become an integral part of every major building and construction project across the globe. The firms that provide these services have to adhere to numerous regulatory standards set by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) as well as the Building and Construction Codes from local and state governments.
We will have a brief look at some of the important components of fire protection engineering and the balanced approach that the engineers of this field have to adopt when designing the blueprints.
Classifying Fire Hazards
Before deciding what type of fire protection a project requires, the engineers must identify different classifications of fire hazards.
|Class A||The types of fire that involve various flammable solids including rubber, paper, wood, cloth, and some types of plastic.|
|Class B||This type involves different flammable liquids or solids that can be liquefied including paint, gasoline, petrol, and various types of plastics and waxes (These doesn’t include cooking oils or fats). This class also includes the fires that involve flammable gases such as natural gas, propane, hydrogen, and butane.|
|Class C||Type C involve any materials from the above two classes along with the introduction of some electrical equipment, appliances, electrically energized objects, wiring within the fire’s vicinity. Furthermore, it also involves the risk of resultant electric shock if a conductive agent is used for fire control.|
|Class K||The types of fire that involve cooking oils and fats. In this case, the high temperature of oil (on fire) exceeds beyond other flammable liquids.|
Components of Fire Protection Engineering
The integral components of fire protection engineering whether in land-based projects, onboard ships or offshore construction are enlisted as follows:
Active Fire Protection
One of the crucial techniques used to achieve a quality protection system involves active fire protection. The automatic and manual detection along with suppression of fires is developed with the help of fire alarms and/or sprinkler systems.
Passive Fire Protection
This involves the installation of different fire-proof floor assemblies and firewalls for the purpose of forming fire compartments with an intention to control or reduce the spreading of fire, smoke or high temperatures.
The Balanced Approach
The balanced approach the engineers have to maintain means that they have to keep the costs associated with the project under control at all times. Integrating the active protection systems with their passive counterparts does mean that the fire protection system will provide foolproof safety. Use of different technologies will not only complicate the overall system but it will also elevate costs. Therefore, optimizing costs without compromising of safety is the most important aspect here the engineers have to emphasize on.
In recent times, the criticality of fire protection engineering has grown significantly. The requirements of a quality fire protection system have become as important as ever and project managers include it in their blueprints. Above all, an effective fire protection system will not only keep the building and its occupant safe but it will also increase its overall lifespan.