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Hold fire F


Properly functioning firestop systems can be a life saver, as well as protecting buildings from damage. Paul Gill, chemicals product manager for Hilti (Gt.Britain) Ltd outlines five points to consider when specifying firestop products


irestop systems are used to limit the damage done by fire. When correctly specified and installed, this gives people time to escape and protects the building structure and contents.


There are around 382 deaths per year in the UK due


to fire and, 75 per cent of these involve smoke inhalation, with smoke travelling at speeds of up to 10m per second. An average fire will reach temperatures of 1,100°C, and a fire can double in volume every 30 seconds. On average, 57 per cent of deaths occur to people not in the room


of the fire’s origin. Taking all this into account, the main point to consider when selecting firestop products is that if a fire breaks out, will the installation prevent the spread of smoke and flames into the next compartment for the intended time period?


There are five key points that must all be considered:


1. Is the product fit for purpose? Unlike acoustic or air sealing, which can be physically tested on- site, firestop systems must be pre-tested in a suitable laboratory mock-up in accordance with certain testing standards. There are two criteria that firestop products are tested


on: insulation and integrity. Insulation measures the ability of an element to insulate, i.e. the time taken for the non fire side to reach 180°C. Integrity measures the ability of a product to prevent gas and flames from passing through in case of a fire. A product alone can’t have a fire rating. The tested fire


rating is only applicable if the product is used and installed in exactly the same way as it was tested. A number of tests are


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ECA Today Winter 2010


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