Active vs. Passive Fire Protection

Do you know the difference between Active and Passive Fire Protection? There tends to be some confusion about which is which, so here is a quick reminder:

Active Fire Protection – Systems which require a certain amount of motion/or action in order to work properly.  Some of these actions could be slowing the progress of the fire, putting out the fire, or notifying of the fire and smoke conditions. A few examples are:  sprinkler systems and fire alarm systems.

Passive Fire ProtectionDoes not require motion/and or action in order to work. It is used to contain and slow the spread of the fire.  Some examples are:  Fire walls/barriers, Fire dampers, smoke dampers, fire doors

So, if your facility has a strong active fire protection system in place,  why does passive fire protection matter?

  • Sprinklers don’t always work as designed
  • Lack of maintenance
  • Tampering
  • System malfunctions
  • Problems with water supply (frozen pipes, Earthquakes, shut off by maintenance staff)
  • Inadequate water pressure

Fact is, passive fire protection systems are meant to work in concert with active fire protection systems – not in lieu of them. For more information, visit

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