Fire Containment Overview

An effective fire protection plan involves detection, suppression and containment, and these three key components require both active and passive fire protection. Fire containment, also called firestopping, is a key passive component in an overall fire prevention system.

Active fire protection includes all systems designed to suppress or extinguish fire once it has started, as well as aid in the evacuation of occupants. These include smoke detectors, fire alarms, sprinklers, exit signs and evacuation plans. However, active fire protection systems do not prevent the spread of smoke and toxic gases, the leading cause of death from fire.

Passive fire protection is designed to prevent smoke, toxic gases and fire from spreading. By compartmentalizing fire, passive fire protection systems:

  • Bolster the effectiveness of active systems
  • Enable occupants to evacuate
  • Protect property
  • Minimize damage


Buildings have been designed to compartmentalize fire for decades. Fire rated floors and walls create separation to prevent the spread of fire. But every time a hole — or penetration — is cut into a fire rated floor or wall and proper firestopping is not installed, fire containment is compromised.

Many trades are at fault for the breakdown of fire containment, including plumbing, HVAC, electrical and low voltage contractors. The growth of networks, data centers and the internet has meant that network cabling installation has become a major contributor to this problem.


Active systems are important, but alone they are not enough. When installed correctly, firestop materials can restore your structure to its intended fire resistance rating for effective passive fire protection. Axiom Solutions will evaluate your fire containment needs and provide expert firestopping to safeguard people and property in the event of fire.


Turn to the experts at Axiom Solutions for all of your Fire Containment needs.
Firestopping for Compartmentalization

Compartmentalization, or containing the spread of smoke and toxic gases through proper firestopping, is critical to saving lives and property in a fire.

  • 3/4 of all fire deaths are caused by smoke inhalation.
    Source: Hall, Jr. John R. NFPA Fire Analysis and Research, Quincy, MA. “Burns, Toxic Gases, and other Hazards.”
  • Approximately 57% of people killed in fires are not in the room of the fire’s origin.
    Source: NFPA Fire Protection Handbook, 18th Ed. Table 1-1P. Pg. 1-15.
  • 47% of survivors caught in a fire could not see more than 12 feet.
    Source: NFPA Fire Protection Handbook, 18th Ed. Table 8-1P. Pg. 8-17.
  • Smoke travels 120-420 feet per minute under fire conditions.
    Source: Estimate based upon ceiling jet velocity calculations for typical ceiling heights and heat release rates.
How Fast Does Smoke Travel?


A square room 20 ft x 20 ft x 20 ft has a pencil-sized hole between compartments.


How long will it take for the smoke to fill the room to a thickness such that you cannot see your hands 18 inches in front of you


3 minutes 40 seconds