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What Is The Difference Between Fire Prevention, Protection And Suppression?

There are three core fire safety areas vital to protecting a property (and, subsequently, its occupants); fire prevention, fire protection, and fire suppression. Each plays a crucial role, and it is essential to understand and implement all three to protect yourself and others. This guide looks at each of these elements, what they entail, how they differ, and how they work together to create comprehensive fire safety systems.


Fire Prevention

Fire prevention centres around minimising potential fire hazards. The aim is to reduce the fire risk by safely storing combustibles and managing ignition points. This is monitored through regular inspections and is a core focus of fire risk assessments.


Though you can significantly reduce the risk of a fire through vigilant fire prevention, the risk is never zero. Therefore you must always supplement fire prevention with thorough fire protection and suppression systems.


Fire Protection

The goal of fire protection is to minimise the damage a fire causes. A fire protection system is designed to accommodate a safe evacuation and protect occupants whilst reducing damage to the property as much as possible.


Fire protection consists of both passive and active systems. Active systems are engaged in the event of a fire and are designed to help fight it. Active fire protection includes fire alarms and sprinklers. Passive fire protection systems are structural measures designed to contain a fire and prevent flames and smoke from spreading.


Fire protection designed to prevent a fire from spreading through compartmentation is also known as fire stopping. Fire stopping serves two critical purposes. Firstly it reduces the spread of the fire to minimise damage to the property and maintain the building's structural integrity. And secondly, it keeps emergency exit routes safe and accessible for occupants.


Fire stopping equipment and systems used to achieve these goals include fire doors, fire barriers, and fire curtains.


Fire Suppression

Whilst fire prevention aims to reduce the risks of a fire, and fire protection is designed to protect occupants and the building from harm from a fire, the sole goal of fire suppression is to put out a fire. Units which use extinguishing substances such as chemical compounds and foam to put out fires are collectively known as fire suppression systems. Fire suppression systems are considered active as they are triggered by the presence of a fire. They are connected to a detection system and are activated when they detect a fire through smoke, heat, or both.


Fire sprinkler systems which use water are a common solution. However, water may be ineffective in dousing a fire in some environments, such as those which use combustible gas or oil. Fire suppression systems which use alternative suppression agents will be preferable in these settings.



Speak With Passive Fire Protection Experts

Not only is it crucial to implement all three areas of fire safety discussed above, but it's also essential to do so with expert assistance. Fire stopping, for instance, is complex. And therefore, ensuring your walls, floors, and roofs are fire resistance requires the experience and know-how of a qualified installer. Furthermore, fire risk assessments should be completed to the highest standard by fire safety experts.


LFS are a team of qualified and experienced fire safety experts. There's no better team for fire safety installations, assessments, repairs and maintenance. To learn more about how we can help you achieve fire safety compliance, speak with our fire safety professionals.



Learn More About Fire Safety

To discover more about fire safety, explore our blog. We have many helpful articles with guidance on a broad range of fire safety topics. Stay up to date with the latest legislation and developments with articles such as, "Grenfell: 5 Years On" or check our guides including;

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