FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q: If it is red does it mean it is fire-rated?

Answer: No. Testing conducted by third party institutions, such as Underwriter Laboratory, have proven that it is not the color of the material that provides the fire-resistance of products, but how the material is used in a tested system.

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Q: Why is passive fire protection a necessary component of a balanced fire protection initiative?

A: It is not always possible to escape or exit out of a building during a fire emergency. Passive fire protection, containment, fire rated construction, smoke barriers, fire-rated partition walls, firestopping, all provide the physical features of an area mandated in the California Building Code called an “area of refuge”. The firestopping materials and listed systems in every required “area of refuge” creates the smoke tight seal that maintains the safe environment expected when a hospital’s “care suite” or a floor of a Risk Category III/IV building goes into emergency egress action. A balanced fire protection initiative, takes into consideration the population of people that can not safely egress from buildings and require 1st responder attention as soon as possible.


Q: What is containment?

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A: Containment in a general term that can be simplified to a single room in a healthcare setting or Risk Category III/IV building. But, the use of that simplified room makes up the “containment” needs required to maintain a livable environment in that room. Take into consideration the answer to “Why is passive fire protection a necessary component of a balanced fire protection initiative?" In reverse, containment provides an area that prevents a fire from spreading to other areas of a building.


Q: Who needs protection?

A: The simple answer, EVERYONE! The specific answer, doctors, nurses, support staff (Environmental Services, Bio-medical support, pharmacy & labs, etc.), families, guests, the elderly, children, and our patients. The buildings providing healthcare services have been identified by ESFP as the most vulnerable to penetrations within their existing fire rated barriers. But, future Risk Category III/IV 3rd party firestop inspections should be prepared for in advance to verify construction is in compliance with California law and national standards.


Q: What penetrations in a rated assembly should not look like.

 

A: ASTM International. “Qualifications - An inspector shall be acceptable to the AHJ and shall meet at least one of the following requirements:

  1. Meet criteria contained in Practice E699 for agencies involved in quality assurance.

  2. Have minimum 2 years experience in construction field inspections and have education, credentials, and experience acceptable to the AA; or

  3. Be a quality assurance agency accredited by the AHJ.

Q: What Qualifies a 3rd party firestop inspector?

 

A: Not according to the ASTM Standards.

Conflicts of Interest.

  • the inspector shall be completely independent of, and divested from, the installer, contractor, manufacturer, or supplier of any material being inspected.

  • the inspector shall not be a competitor of the installer, contractor, manufacturer, or supplier of any material being inspected.

Q: Can the firestop contractor provide the firestop inspections as-well?