Fire has no respect for life & safety, it dose not even condone the ignorance hence measures are required to be prevent fire before the damage occur. In this paper, emphasis has been supplied to distinguish the two basic approaches for fire management, how passive fire protection system work.

The main objectives of fire safety:

  • Life Safety
  • Property Protection &
  • Continuity of operation

To obtain or reach the above objective we have to maintain below mentioned approach of fire management:

It is an approach taken at the building design stage for practical solutions to fire problems with a view to reduce fire loses and safety of lives. The fire protection subject can be divided into two groups and measures implemented for reducing fire risk as under:

  • Active Fire Suppression Systems
  • Passive Fire Protection Systems

Active Fire Suppression Systems:
These systems and equipments are used for detection & communication process that informs the occurrence of a fire outbreak and triggers some sort of counteraction towards extinguishing the fire. These arrangements can be as under:

  • Portable fire extinguishers
  • Fire hydrant and hose reel systems
  • Automatic sprinkler system
  • Fixed fire suppression flooding system
  • Detection and automatic alarm system coupled with automatic fire suppression system & other electronics system for monitoring situations & access control devices etc.

Passive Fire Protection System:
Passive fire protection is an all-encompassing fire safety concept, which embraces the passive measures in fire containment design, & in addition augment the active measures. It is the proactive approach taken at the building design stage, aimed at addressing a comprehensive solution to the fire problem.

Passive fire protection is the primary measure integrated within the constructional fabric of a building to provide inherent fire safety and protection by responding against flame, heat and smoke to maintain the fundamental requirements of building compartmentation, structural stability, fire separation and safe means of escape.

Introduction of Passive Fire Protection System:
Passive fire protection measure achieve their intended purpose by raising the fire resistance of the structure, protecting the structure against the effects of fire, reducing fire spread through secondary ignition, limiting the movement of flame and smoke, and minimizing the danger of fire -induced collapse or structural distortion.

Passive fire protection design, incorporating passive fire protection materials, systems and assemblies, serves by fire containment to protect life, safeguard the building structure, protect assets, maintain building serviceability after fire, minimize rebuild costs, and facilitate quick business recovery and continuity.

These systems do not require any type of out source power to function in case of fire.
Current Situation of Passive Fire Protection Systems In India:
1. Passive fire protection concept & systems are at developing or initial implementing stage in the Indian fire safety industry.
2. Still people are concentrating on the passive fire protection for load bearing structures (Beam and Columns) using concrete mostly in the industrial segment.
3. In the commercial & residential market segment no more step forwarding for this concept, except some application of fire barrier paints & sprays. Government authorities need on laying strict regulations for passive fire protection.
4. The regulations for the fire safety are followed in Indian market are based on National building codes (NBC), which follows the basic guidelines of the British standards (BS).

The national building code of India, chapter IS 1646 defines the fire protection standards for building s in India. These are compared favorably with those followed world widely such as the British standard BS 476: part 4-26, DIN 4102, International Standard Organization ISO 834,

But the problem in India is not with the code, but with the enforcement of the code, Fire accidents in cities and towns in India alone cause an annual average of 20,000 fatal injuries and a financial loss of 1,200 crore. Most of these fires occur in commercial establishments. Despite this, fire safety standards continue to be flouted with impunity by builder across the country.
Where it should be apply:

The scope of application for passive fire protection system is following areas:

  • Structural fire protection
  • Compartmentation of building & structural fire spread
  • Containment of fire spread
  • Preserving the function of fire safety measures.
  • Life safety of the personnel inside the premises & fire services personnel
  • Continuity of operation
  • Safe escape routes & sage refuge for occupants

The basic application for Indian industry would be:

  • Mechanical & electrical enclosures: Electrically operated active system should be well protected so that they are functional during fire.
  • Fire rated partitions: fire Sage lobby and sate escape passage ways are critical to life safety.
  • Fire rates ceilings: Services passing above the unprotected ceiling- a source fire propagation
  • Fire rated ducts (Ventilation, smoke extraction): when the smoke temperature is so high that sheet metal ducts become distorted, making it unable to extract smoke.
  • Fire stopping penetration seals: Fire Barrier to prevent propagation through services penetrations.
  • Steel Protection: Steel is considered a strong building material but it looses its strength in temperature over 5500C in fire.

The way to implement the concept of passive fire protection system in our country:
1. Specific norms pertaining to each application area in the revised building codes.
2. Stricter enforcement of the norms, by regulatory authorities as fire services.
3. Acceptance of worldwide test standards, besides BS and American Standards of Testing of Materials (ASTM). By regulatory bodies, like NBC, Fire Services, in India.
4. Reduction in import duty structure, considering these as:

  • Items for life safety
  • Items for property safety

5. Continuing awareness campaign to increase knowledge on the applications, the problems associated and the solutions.
6. Educating the future architects by incorporating the concept in syllabi of architectural and civil engineering colleges.
7. Development of more testing institutes in collaboration with international testing institutes like Loss Prevention Council, UK, Warnock Heresy, FM etc.

Major high -rise building fire in India:
No. of Storeys
Brief Details
Siddhartha Continental Hotel,
10 + 2 Basements
The fire had broken out in banquet hall in the basement and remained undetected for quite some time. Smoke spread through vertical shafts and ducts.
Out of 37 people 34 people were killed due to asphyxiation due to toxic gases, one due to burns & 2 jumped to death.
Ansal Bhavan Delhi
12 + 1
Approx 60
The fire occurred from the switchboard due to electric fault at 5th floor.
There was no fire alarm system in building. Even emergency escapes were covered due to fire & unavailability of emergency light people could not find way to escape.
A Transformer blast in the pavement parking lot started the fire. Due to the
Uphar Cinema Delhi
High rise building
Over 200
(incl.CFO DFS)
bursting of transformer oil flowed out, caught fire and spread fire to adjacent areas like car Park, A/C. Plant etc. Hot gases and smoke were immediately conveyed to the upper levels through A/C ducts. Most of the victims died due to asphyxia (inhalation of toxic gases and smoke) and not due to burns.
Scope building, New Delhi
The fire broke out due to short circuit on the 4th floor and soon spread to the upper floors. The entire office of NFL burnt down. Three floor damaged.
11th floor was involved in a major fire due to PVC made electrical shaft getting involved. Lot of toxic smoke was created which spread to upper floors. Many of them were rescued through snorkels by Mumbai fire brigade. Fire fighting went on for 2 ½ hours.

Proposed Passive Fire Protection Solution:
Passive fire protection measures are incorporated to close the penetration of various high voltage electric cables, cable-tray & other hazardous penetration, which carries risk of carrying the fire/smoke/heat from one chamber/room to another & making fire un-controllable in few moments.

Passive fire protection systems prevent fire/smoke/heat from penetrating from wall/floors/ceiling from one room/chamber to another. Few multination companies have developed the technologies in the field of Passive fire protection system are as follows:

Intumescent Technologies: Substantial or irreversible thermal expansion due to heat input. Heat is absorbed during expansion & products become thermal insulator. If it is installed at any type of penetration, it stops the fire & smoke to pass through that penetration.

Endothermic Technology: It is based on a chemical reaction that absorbs heat during fire.

Ablation Technology: Energy is consumed to remove the surface, reducing the amount of heat available to pass through the system. Fire retardant coating works with this technology.

Besides structural integrity, compartmentation and provision of refuge areas, some of the provisions are listed
as under: -

  • Use of fire retardant coating with paints/ solutions, seals, plugs etc.
  • Fire barrier moldable putty for cable hole & cable tray penetration in the wall, floor & ceilings
  • Fire barrier composite sheet with intumescent technology used for fire protection from the cable trays and various cable penetration.
  • Fire dam spray for curtain wall joints.
  • Fire dampers
  • Mechanical ventilation system for supply of air and smoke extraction system to reduce smoke logging.
  • Automatic smoke/ heat detection and fire alarm system for early warning and response reactions.
The main objectives of Gujarat Safety Council are
  • To devise effective methods of accident precention and propagate them amongst employees, workes and public at large, in Factories, on Road Home and in Farms.
  • To organize Training Programmes, Seminars, Conference and other Safety related activities.
  • To conduct safety educational campaigns, to arouse public opinion and interest of employers and workers in safety.




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