Three Essential firestopping tips

Most cables are constructed with standard polymer jackets, which are combustible. Copper and aluminum are the most common metals used as conductors. Unfortunately, they’re good conductors of heat. The conductors can spread a fire by igniting surrounding flammable materials, such as the cable jacket. Then the jacket burns away, the conductors melt together, and the size of the cable bundle shrinks and causes gaps to develop within the cabling opening. This can be a major fire risk.

Firestopping is a term used to describe sealing and protecting openings and other joints between the cable and edges of the floor, wall, or ceiling. Firestopping was first practiced on U.S. combat ships in the 1960s. The walls and floors of the ships had steel tubes, which allowed conduits to pass through. Then, non-burning material was stuffed between the gaps, preventing the spread of fire and smoke. It wasn’t until the 1970s when larger companies began producing firestopping materials.

A successful firestop plan requires careful planning. Here are three tips to help you meet the needs of future cabling requirements and fire protection:

#1. Think long term
Most people tend to underestimate the size of the openings required for cabling and often forget about future expansion. When planning on how large to make the opening to run your cable, you must consider the diameter of the cable itself, how much room you need for firestopping materials, and whether you’ll be adding more cables in the future.

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