Recommendations to improve safety against fires and prevent their spreading

Safety instructions to prevent the spread of fire. When a fire occurs in a building, one of the most important aspects that we should try to control is the spread of fire. Preventing the fire from spreading to other rooms and even other houses can make the difference between a small fire and a large […]
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Safety instructions to prevent the spread of fire. When a fire occurs in a building, one of the most important aspects that we should try to control is the spread of fire. Preventing the fire from spreading to other rooms and even other houses can make the difference between a small fire and a large fire.

In a residential building the fire can advance quickly thanks to the large amount of fuel that can be found. Curtains, furniture, wall coverings are very good fuels. These types of constructions are not usually conditioned to isolate fires and these can easily spread through wooden doors or uninsulated walls.

Remember that here at FireCrunch we focus on providing high quality and sustainable fire-resistant building boards for interior and exterior settings in both residential and commercial properties.

How the fire spreads

The spread of fire through ventilated facades is considered one of the fastest means of spreading a fire. On the façade coincide certain factors that may favour the increase of fire in a building: the verticality of the surface, the shape of the building, the wind, etc.

In order to reduce fire load and prevent its quick spreading:

  • Using non-combustible insulation and coatings
  • Use non-combustible insulation
  • Install firewall strips in the ventilated chamber
  • Install firewall strips in the upper area of ​​windows or the entire width of the facade every certain height
  • The balconies or cantilevers serve as a barrier but where there are no balconies, new barriers must be installed
  • The insulation being protected by the mortar and / or platelets

Vertical propagation of the fire

This is when the heat rises upwards is something that we all know, this makes that the floors that are just above the focus of the fire are the most prone to suffer the propagation of the fire. The hollows of stairs or elevators, ventilation ducts and wooden doors allow the fire to spread easily causing a chimney effect in these ducts.

Fireproof doors and passive security elements to prevent the spread of fire. The fire also spreads horizontally. The main reason is the lack of fire doors or the bad placement of these. The installation of these security elements can prevent the horizontal propagation of the fire. The lack of fire walls is another of the main reasons that allow the spread of fire. The horizontal propagation of fire is usually produced with great ease thanks to carpets, curtains, coatings and furniture that act as fuels.

Fire, without a doubt, is the most dangerous element of a fire, although it is not the only one. Smoke is another risk factor in a fire since it limits visibility and can cause suffocation. The smoke that is produced in a fire in a building is usually a toxic smoke since it is formed from the combustion of insulating materials, plastics, paints.

In a fire in a building, extremely high temperatures can be reached that can break the windows, thus facilitating the entry of oxygen into the fire and causing sudden combustion or flashover.

If a building complies with the current fire regulations, the risks of fire propagation are considerably reduced. The measures that can be adopted to prevent the spread are both structural and constructive.

Fire resistance of construction materials is key to prevent the spread of fire. The structural elements can be grouped into:

  • Structure: these are the materials that make up the resistant structure of the building.
  • Separators: they isolate the different rooms of the building, thus preventing the spread of fire.
  • Structural – Separators: they fulfil both functions.

The constructive elements of the building and its behaviour in a fire are of vital importance since depending on the materials used they will behave in one way or another. The materials, when subjected to the hot temperatures that occur in a fire, suffer deformations produced by heat and can end up losing resistance causing the building to collapse. The main materials used to build the buildings are steel and concrete. Each of these materials behaves differently when subjected to extreme temperatures. Steel expands, loses strength and yields while the concrete loses moisture and contracts and cracks.

The behaviour of building materials against fire is one of the main factors that will determine the initiation and spread of fire. In these tests the fire reaction of the different materials is measured and factors such as flammability, or combustion rate are taken into account.

Insulating elements to prevent the spread of fire

The fire feeds on high temperatures and oxygen. Therefore, to reduce or extinguish it, it is necessary to cool, with water or other elements, and also to lower the amount of oxygen in the air. The experiment of covering a candle is applied here closing doors and windows, trying to drown the fire and concentrate it in a space as closed as possible.

Another effective way to fight fires and avoid greater evils is to have all the security elements such as fire extinguishers, glass breakers, roof sprinklers or smoke detection elements. Without forgetting a correct signalling of the emergency exits, as well as of the places where we can find and use the mentioned elements.

Fire resistance is the ability of a material to contain fire maintaining its structural stability, thermal insulation and resistance to the passage of flame. The fire resistance of the materials of a residential building must be at least 180 minutes and should withstand the complete combustion of the combustible content.

As we have commented the propagation of the fire depends on the constructive and structural materials of the building. The installation of space separators, fire doors and the use of fireproof insulation materials is very important to avoid or at least delay the spread of fire.

Preventing the spread of fire, smoke and toxic gases can make a big difference in material and personal damage and between a small fire or a large fire. If the fire is isolated in the same room in which it has been produced, it can easily be extinguished by the firemen, thus preventing it from spreading to the rest of the building.

Contact us today for more information! Here at Fire Crunch we are here to help you.