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Fire protection

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Fire protection is the study and practice of mitigating the unwanted effects of potentially destructive fires.[1][2] It involves the study of the behaviour, compartmentalisation, suppression and investigation of fire and its related emergencies, as well as the research and development, production, testing and application of mitigating systems. In structures, be they land-based, offshore or even ships, the owners and operators are responsible to maintain their facilities in accordance with a design-basis that is rooted in laws, including the local building code and fire code, which are enforced by the authority having jurisdiction.[3]

Buildings must be maintained in accordance with the current fire code, which is enforced by the fire prevention officers of a local fire department.[4][5] In the event of fire emergencies, Firefighters, fire investigators, and other fire prevention personnel are called to mitigate, investigate and learn from the damage of a fire.[6]

Classifying fires


When deciding on what fire protection is appropriate for any given situation, it is important to assess the types of fire hazards that may be faced.[7] Some jurisdictions operate systems of classifying fires using code letters.[8][9] Whilst these may agree on some classifications, they also vary. Below is a table showing the standard operated in Europe and Australia against the system used in the United States.

Type of fire Australia European North America
Fires that involve flammable solids such as wood, cloth, rubber, paper, and some types of plastics. Class A Class A Class A
Fires that involve flammable liquids or liquefiable solids such as petrol/gasoline, oil, paint, some waxes & plastics, but not cooking fats or oils Class B Class B Class B
Fires that involve flammable gases, such as natural gas, hydrogen, propane, butane Class C Class C
Fires that involve combustible metals, such as sodium, magnesium, and potassium Class D Class D Class D
Fires that involve any of the materials found in Class A and B fires, but with the introduction of an electrical appliances, wiring, or other electrically energized objects in the vicinity of the fire, with a resultant electrical shock risk if a conductive agent is used to control the fire. Class E1 (Class E) now no longer in the European standards Class C
Fires involving cooking fats and oils. The high temperature of the oils when on fire far exceeds that of other flammable liquids, making normal extinguishing agents ineffective. Class F Class F Class K

1 Technically there is no such thing as a "Class E" fire, as electricity itself does not burn. However, it is considered a dangerous and very deadly complication to a fire, therefore using the incorrect extinguishing method can result in serious injury or death. Class E, however generally refers to fires involving electricity, therefore a bracketed E, "(E)" denoted on various types of extinguishers.[10]

Fires are sometimes categorized as "one alarm", "two alarm", "three alarm" (or higher) fires.[11][12] There is no standard definition for what this means quantifiably, though it always refers to the level response by the local authorities. In some cities, the numeric rating refers to the number of fire stations that have been summoned to the fire. In others, the number counts the number of "dispatches" for additional personnel and equipment.[13][14]


Personnel training and fire training alarm in Karelian Research Centre of RAS, 2018.

Fire protection in land-based buildings, offshore construction or on board ships is typically achieved via all of the following:

  • Passive fire protection - the installation of firewalls and fire rated floor assemblies to form fire compartments intended to limit the spread of fire, high temperatures, and smoke.
  • Active fire protection - manual and automatic detection and suppression of fires, such as fire sprinkler systems and (fire alarm) systems.
  • Education - the provision of information regarding passive and active fire protection systems to building owners, operators, occupants, and emergency personnel so that they have a working understanding of the intent of these systems and how they perform in the fire safety plan.

Balanced approach


Passive fire protection (PFP) in the form of compartmentalisation was developed prior to the invention of or widespread use of active fire protection (AFP), mainly in the form of automatic fire sprinkler systems. During this time, PFP was the dominant mode of protection provided in facility designs. With the widespread installation of fire sprinklers in the past 50 years, the reliance on PFP as the only approach was reduced.

Building operation in conformance with design


Fire protection within a structure relies on all of its components. The building is designed in compliance with the local building code and fire code by the architect and other consultants.[15] A building permit is issued after review by the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ).

Deviations from that original plan should be made known to the AHJ to make sure that the change is still in compliance with the law to prevent any unsafe conditions that may violate the law and put people at risk. For example, if the firestop systems in a structure were inoperable, a significant part of the fire safety plan might be compromised in the event of a fire because the walls and floors that contain the firestops are intended to have a fire-resistance rating. Likewise, if the sprinkler system or fire alarm system is inoperable for lack of proper maintenance, the likelihood of damage or personal injury is increased.

Government Guidelines of Fire Protection and Fire Safety







See also



  1. ^ NFPA Fire Protection Handbook, pg. 2-19
  2. ^ RANA, JAGENDRA (2023-06-29). RISK ENGINEERING. Blue Rose Publishers. p. 218.
  3. ^ RANA, JAGENDRA (2023-06-29). RISK ENGINEERING. Blue Rose Publishers. p. 215.
  4. ^ BHUYAN, DEVAJIT (2015-06-01). Complete Guide to Career Planning (in German). V&S Publishers. ISBN 978-93-5057-403-4.
  5. ^ Bhuyan, Devajit (2004-12-01). Multiple Career Choices. Pustak Mahal. p. 201. ISBN 978-81-223-0779-5.
  6. ^ BHUYAN, DEVAJIT (2015-06-01). Complete Guide to Career Planning (in German). V&S Publishers. ISBN 978-93-5057-403-4.
  7. ^ Ward, Michael J. (2019-12-18). Fire Officer: Principles and Practice includes Navigate Advantage Access: Principles and Practice. Jones & Bartlett Learning. p. 405. ISBN 978-1-284-17239-3.
  8. ^ Jr, A. Maurice Jones; Jones (2013-12-27). Fire Protection Systems. Jones & Bartlett Publishers. p. 29. ISBN 978-1-284-03538-4.
  9. ^ Binggeli, Corky (2008). Materials for Interior Environments. John Wiley & Sons. p. 3. ISBN 978-0-470-11428-5.
  10. ^ New South Wales Rural Fire Service VF - (2005) Village Firefighter Manual, pg 16.
  11. ^ Paper Industry. Paper Industry Management Association. 1965. p. 53.
  12. ^ Paine, Whiton Stewart (1981). Proceedings, First National Conference on Burnout, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, November 2-4, 1981. Gwynedd Mercy College/Mercy Catholic Medical Center. p. 117.
  13. ^ "Paying for Donated Blood, Ethanol in Lawn Mowers, Numbered Alarm Fires: 5/12/06 - Money News Story - WRC | Washington". Archived from the original on 2007-11-23. Retrieved 2007-11-23.
  14. ^ "Four-alarm fire on Avenue B". www.thevillager.com. Archived from the original on 29 December 2015. Retrieved 3 April 2018.
  15. ^ Ballast, David Kent (2021-07-20). PPI NCIDQ Interior Design Reference Manual, 7th Edition—Includes Complete Coverage of Content Areas for All Three Sections of the NCIDQ Exam. Simon and Schuster. pp. 28–18. ISBN 978-1-59126-842-0.

Further reading