Active fire protection systems

Active fire protection is one of the three types of structural fire protection. The two other types are passive fire protection and subject-related education. Active fire protection means that its constituents, items or systems are 'activated', mechanically or electronically and require a certain amount of motion, activity, electricity or heat in order to function. Typically this refers to systems such as sprinklers, where the sprinkler bulb, which holds back the water, breaks and the water moves, as an example; or fire or smoke detection systems, where smoke or heat are sensed and the detector or connected alarm system is activated. Industry lobby groups are typically divided into these two camps, active and passive fire protection. Nobody argues about the need for the third and equally important fire protection component of subject-related education. Each try to garner more business for themselves through code hearings etc. though the actual research and development people who invent, test and get products ready to market generally agree that all three components of fire protection are needed and complement one another rather well. The crux of the majority of the argument tends to be motivated by the gains each group is in hopes of making at the expense of the other, with the exception of subject-related education. As an example: if fire compartments can be made larger, or the regulated need for fire compartments has been eliminated in favour of fire sprinklers, then the walls that are being built are less substantial and less costly. Thus, the drywall, or masonry contracts as well as the firestop and fireproofing contracts in a building will have been reduced at the expense of the sprinkler contract. This example has been the trend of late, due to the emergence of performance or objective based building codes[1]. In reality, a strong mix of each of the three components of fire protection is needed because each component of the overall fire protection plan can be defeated through a multitude of factors, including, but not limited to: installation errors, ageing of materials, faulty maintenance, ineptitude and apathy of building operators