Letters

Firestopping is not an option, but a requirement Many thanks for mentioning new technologies from manufacturer members of the Firestop Contractors International Association (FCIA) who were exhibiting at the NFPA Show in Dallas, in your special NFPA issue of CSE NewsWatch (and CSE 06/03 p.16). HILTI, Specified Technologies and 3M have been active members of FCIA for some time now.

07/01/2003


Firestopping is not an option, but a requirement

Many thanks for mentioning new technologies from manufacturer members of the Firestop Contractors International Association (FCIA) who were exhibiting at the NFPA Show in Dallas, in your special NFPA issue of CSE NewsWatch (and CSE 06/03 p.16). HILTI, Specified Technologies and 3M have been active members of FCIA for some time now.

Below is a quote from your floor guide at the NFPA Exhibit that really got us talking here at FCIA. It seems that the quote about IBC Code requirements "getting out of hand recently, especially considering the fact that no major fires (such as the devastating MGM conflagration) have ever been caused or accelerated by fire spreading through piping penetrations" meant a response from us, as you see below.

The fact is that there have been several major disasters where "improperly sealed, or open penetrations" allowed fire to spread to areas beyond the room of origin. Reference the "American Heat Documentary Video," where a Los Angeles fire official cites "lack of, or improperly sealed penetrations" as a cause for rapid fire spread in the First Interstate Bank fire in Los Angeles.

Also, in the First Meridian Bank Fire in Philadelphia, rapid fire spread was attributed to slab edge conditions of the building.

Additionally, "T-Ratings" for firestopping can be accomplished with many types of cables, as noted in the UL Fire Resistance Directory. In some cases, the "F" (flame) and "T" (temperature) rise ratings are the same, meeting code requirements.

We at FCIA believe a reason that fire-spread incidents have not happened recently (as the story states) is that firestopping of penetrations is no longer "optional" and is providing required compartmentation and protection. The code language has been quite clear in recent years, requiring firestopping in fire resistance rated assemblies to be installed to ASTM E 814/UL 1479 tested and listed systems.

Additionally, the use of FCIA member contractors who specialize in firestopping, and may be FM 4991 approved, has added safety to buildings. (See www.fcia.org for more information on FCIA and FM 4991)

Effective fast response sprinkler systems, alarm systems, compartmentation and firestopping have helped make buildings safer.

Bill McHugh, FCIA Executive Director





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