Active and passive fire protection systems are specified to ensure the safety and well-being of building occupants in case of a fire or other incident. Protecting the occupants of the building from the effects of fire is the primary objective in the majority of cases; engineers should be aware of the contents and intent of the building when specifying fire detection, notification and suppression systems.

Fire detection systems are required at varying levels. Notification appliances must be included in the design to ensure building occupants are notified and safely and efficiently evacuated if necessary). Suppression systems also will be touched on to assist the engineer in selecting the correct systems to specify.

Learning objectives:

  • Explain the minimum building codes that govern fire detection, notification and suppression systems, such as the International Building Code and a variety of NFPA codes and standards.
  • Assess the various active fire protection and suppression systems available and which ones are appropriate to specify in nonresidential building design.
  • Learn about mass notification systems to alert the occupants and first responders, including a review of nonfire event notification practices.
  • Apply this knowledge by reviewing recent fire/life safety protection design examples.