When protecting commercial and multi-family buildings, where occupant rates range into the hundreds and cost millions to rebuild, fire protection tops the priority list of concerns for builders, owners and facility managers. It’s crucial to look beyond active fire protection, such as fire extinguishers, fire detectors and sprinkler systems and pay equal attention to the less-visible, passive fire protection systems that work to contain and compartmentalize fire and smoke and its point of origin.
Compartmentalization involves erecting barriers to divide a building into smaller units that will confine fire. This step helps to reduce risk and avoid reliance on any one element in a fire safety plan. Compartmentalization is critical because it limits where the fire can spread, while also complementing automatic sprinkler systems.