Compartmentation is the unsung hero of the fire safety world. It is the practice of dividing a building or structure into separate, fire-resistant compartments or sections, designed to prevent the spread of fire, smoke, and toxic gases. Compartmentation plays a pivotal role in containing fires, saving lives, and minimising property damage. In this blog post, we’ll explore the importance of this vital part of your fire safety arsenal.
This fire safety technique encompasses a variety of physical barriers that stop the spread of fire damage. This includes:
There are a variety of ways that slowing the spread of fire with physical barriers can be helpful throughout the event of an emergency.
Compartmentation is essentially about creating fire-resistant barriers within a building. These barriers can be walls, floors, or ceilings designed to withstand the spread of fire and smoke for a specified period, typically measured in hours. When a fire breaks out in one compartment, these barriers prevent it from spreading to other areas of the building. This containment buys precious time for evacuation and allows firefighters to control the blaze more effectively.
One of the most significant benefits of compartmentation is its contribution to life safety. In the event of a fire, occupants in unaffected compartments have a better chance of safely evacuating the building. This is because compartmentation reduces the risk of smoke and toxic gases infiltrating other areas, making escape routes clearer and safer. Fire-resistant compartments act as a buffer, giving people more time to exit the building or find refuge until help arrives.
Compartmentation doesn’t just benefit regular building users, but also the first responders in the event of a fire. When fire is contained within a single compartment, it allows firefighters to focus their efforts on that specific area. This targeted approach makes firefighting more efficient and less dangerous. Firefighters can enter the compartment with a clear plan, knowing that the fire has not spread unpredictably throughout the building.
Fires not only pose a threat through flames and smoke but also by compromising a building’s structural integrity. Compartmentation helps maintain the structural integrity of the building by preventing fires from weakening the structural elements.
By containing the fire within a limited area, it prevents the widespread destruction that unchecked fires can cause. This can significantly reduce the financial and emotional toll on building owners and occupants. Insurance companies often offer lower premiums to buildings that adhere to strict compartmentation standards, recognizing the reduced risk of extensive damage.
Keeping track of compartmentation and physical fire barriers can be a daunting task, especially in larger commercial buildings. At Total Fire Group, we provide a variety of services to support Responsible People as they keep their buildings and building users safe. To find out more, check out our website or contact us to get started.
We offer our clients a complete fire safety management service, our key services include:
Delivering a comprehensive and detailed report on your property.
We can provide a partnership which offers auditing and consultancy services.
Manage multiple risk assessment actions with our Aurora software.
Our fire safety training courses cover every level of fire safety, from basic through to advanced.