How much do you know about fire safety?
You wouldn’t necessarily think that a fire would break out in the confines of a building you’re residing in, but as a matter fact, on average, approximately 3.7 million fires occur in cities worldwide per year, and an average of 43.2 thousand lives are lost as a result1.It is therefore essential for buildings to have high quality fire safety measures in place, otherwise lives are put at risk.
That means that you would want to know the answers to questions such as “Does the building have adequate level of fire compartmentation?” and “Is the building made of fire resilient materials?”
A fire compartment is an area that contains the fire once it has started, preventing it from spreading to the rest of the building. Ideally, this area would be as small as possible so that the damage done is minimised.
It is absolutely important that the walls, ceilings, floors, and doors of the fire compartment can withstand a fully developed fire, without allowing heat, flames, or toxic smoke to pass through the compartment boundaries. The walls, ceilings, floors and doors should primarily be constructed from non-combustible materials to secure that the building elements do not contribute to the size of the fire.
This is especially crucial after the fire reaches the flashover point, as fire compartmentation is the only way to contain the fire within a small area. This ensures that it achieves its goal of keeping flames from overwhelming a building.
After flashover, the fire is so intense that it can break through regular windows and expose the exterior of the building to flames. This will ignite any potential combustible materials on the facade, which can further lead to vertical spread of fire, thus negating the purpose of the fire compartment. A façade system made of non-combustible materials can counteract this by slowing the spread of fire and smoke.