At Wallace Fire Protection we design PFP solutions designed to stop the spread of fire and smoke. Both these elements are equally hazardous and can lead to death if not effectively contained. In fact, Home Office figures show that “the most common cause of death for fire-related fatalities in 2019/20 (where the cause of death was known) was ‘overcome by gas or smoke’.”
Smoke – The Toxic Cocktail
The most obvious hazard smoke presents is its disorienting capability. Once a building fills with smoke, landmarks disappear, people lose their way and become trapped. Breathing in smoke has been likened to drowning as it systematically reduces your respiratory ability. As the oxygen disappears from the air CO2 is released, which is potentially fatal. Toxic gases are added into the mix as furniture, plastics and vinyl catch fire.
Smoke-Related Fatalities and Injuries
The fatal effects of smoke inhalation in a fire are:
- Asphyxia. Resulting from low oxygen levels in smoke-filled air, combined with the inhalation of toxic gases such as carbon monoxide and cyanide.
- Upper Airway Injuries. Hot smoke burns the airways and damages the respiratory tract leading to potential airway collapse.
- Chemical Injuries. The release of chemicals from furniture and appliances such as sulphur dioxide, chlorine and ammonia cause cellular damage to the body.
For those who escape the very worst effects of smoke, there is a chance that they will develop pneumonia, COPD, asthma, long-term shortness of breath, memory impairment or anxiety and depression.
Firestopping Keeps Smoke and Toxic Gases Contained
In order to stop fire spreading through a building, fire-resistant compartments are created using fire and blast resistant panels. These give a window of up to 4 hours for people to safely evacuate the building and firefighters to extinguish the flames.
In addition to the fire-resistant panels, we also install firestopping materials. These are applied to any gaps caused by cable, pipework or ductwork penetrations. Unless every single gap is located and firestopped, the fire protection is compromised, and smoke will fill the building fast.
The firestopping materials we use to stop up service gaps are:
- Intumescent Paint. A water or silicone reactive coating. The paint swells once a critical temperature is reached, filling service gaps and providing thermal insulation for structures.
- Cementitious Coating. A non-reactive compound system made using gypsum or cement. It has an extremely high melting point which makes it an ideal coating for pipes, cables or ducts.
Both intumescent paint and cementitious coating fulfil a similar function of stopping smoke or toxic gases spreading through the building. Firestopping with material provides up to 4 hours of fire protection.
About Wallace Fire Protection Ltd.
We are an established contractor providing bespoke passive fire protection solutions to the construction industry, the commercial sector, critical infrastructure, and utilities. Wallace Fire Protection takes pride in being one of the six licensed and approved installers of Promat DURASTEEL® fire barriers, blast protection and firestopping spray coatings in the UK.
The Wallace Fire Protection team is committed to providing clients with full-service passive fire protection design and installation. We place great emphasis on quality and responsiveness from the tender stage right through to contract completion. All our operatives hold industry relevant certificates including BESC, Person Training, Substation Entry and Confined Spaces.