Chilman Logo
22 Mar, 2023

When it comes to keeping your property safe from fire, there are a couple of ways to protect it. Yes, we’re talking about passive and active fire protection. Let’s delve into both of these a little closer and see how our team at MCFP can help you choose the best one for your property.

What Are Fire Protection Systems?

Fire protection is there to keep your property safe, and this protection falls into one of two categories. Firstly, there’s active fire protection, which is all about stopping fires in their tracks and providing you with a quick way to escape the blaze. Things in this category include sprinkler systems, fire alarms, and extinguishers.

Then there’s passive fire protection, which controls the fire and prevents it from spreading. Fire doors, floors, walls and other fire-resistant building structures and materials fit into this category.

To protect your property properly, you really need both active and passive fire protection. If you’ve got both, you can stop the fire from getting out of hand while also having a quick way to put it out if the fire spreads.

At MCFP, we specialise in both active and passive fire protection. We can help you to choose which combinations of the two will keep your property, and most importantly, your family or employees out of harm’s way. Don’t wait until it’s too late – get in touch if you want to find out more about fire safety today!

Now that we’ve explained how active and passive fire protection differ, it’s time for a closer look at both types of systems, how to use them, and where they’re appropriate.

Active Fire Protection Systems

Let’s have a look at active fire protection first.


Active systems are essentially fire safety superheroes. They’re on hand when you need them in case of an emergency. Depending on their function, they may be designed to detect fires early or take action to stop them, or both.

Active fire protection is an essential part of any fire safety plan. It can mean the difference between a small fire extinguished quickly and a catastrophic disaster.

Examples of Active Fire Protection Systems

Here are some examples of active fire protection:

Sprinkler Systems

One of the most widely used forms of active fire protection in commercial and domestic properties is a sprinkler system. Sprinklers detect a fire early on, like standby firefighters, and use their sprinkler heads to immediately spray water to douse any flames.

Fire protection measures like sprinklers can prevent big disasters through their immediate detection systems. If you’re thinking of finding some for your property, try an Automist system. Super sensitive and effective, these rotating sprinkler heads are more aesthetically pleasing and cost-effective than traditional sprinklers.

As registered Automist installers, we’ve helped a range of customers install successful sprinkler systems in various buildings including tree houses!

Fire Alarms

Fire alarm systems are the early birds in the world of active fire safety. They’re first to detect the presence of smoke, heat, or flames and to provide the first warning that something’s amiss. By doing so, fire alarm systems give you and the other occupants in a building enough time to get out before things get too precarious.

Fire alarm systems need to be well-maintained to do their job properly. Frequent testing and maintenance is recommended to make sure they’re in top shape when you need them!

Fire Extinguishers

As far as active fire protection goes, fire extinguishers are time-tested pieces of kit for putting out fires and preventing their spread. Anybody can use fire extinguishers if they’ve received a little training, so position them well within your home and workplace. Most importantly, make sure people know how to work a fire extinguisher. Having fire extinguishers and knowing how to use them could be the key to saving lives and property!

Pros and Cons of Active Fire Protection Systems

Pros: An active fire protection system is designed to quickly detect and control fires, giving occupants time to evacuate and reducing the risk of injury or property damage. They can be a critical tool in saving lives and property, and can also help prevent fires from spreading to neighbouring buildings.

Cons: In bigger buildings, active fire protection can be expensive to install and maintain. Added to this, sprinklers, for example, can cause damage to equipment and building interiors in the case of false alarms, which can happen on rare occasions. These can also be a nuisance, or even worse, you could end up with a “crying wolf” scenario should occupants ignore a fire alarm.

Passive Fire Protection Systems

It’s time to delve a little deeper into passive fire protection now.


Where active systems are the superheroes, passive systems are the keepers of the fire safety fort. Passive fire systems are defence mechanisms put in place to make sure that any fires can only spread so much in a short period. Passive fire protection controls the spread of a fire, thus protecting your property from any excessive damage.

Examples of Passive Fire Protection Systems

The following are some examples of passive fire protection:

Fire-Resistant Walls and Doors

An effective way to keep your property safe from fires is by having fire-resistant walls and fire doors. If they’re installed right, they can stop a fire in its tracks while shielding you and your valuables. These fire doors and walls are built using fire-resistant materials that withstand flames and slow down a fire’s spread.

Fire doors and fire-resistant walls are top-notch passive fire protection measures for your home or office fire safety strategy.

Smoke Barriers

Smoke barriers are installed to stop smoke from spreading through a whole building. They are an effective passive fire protection method. They work by dividing areas in a building into separate compartments so if there’s a fire in one compartment, the smoke barriers will hold the smoke in a confined area.

People will stay safer for longer this way and have more time to leave the building without being affected by smoke.

Fire Dampers

Fire dampers are passive fire protection devices that get installed in a building’s ducting to slow the spread of fire and smoke. They work by closing off the ductwork when there’s a fire, stopping the flames and smoke from moving to other parts of the building.

As with smoke barriers, this buys valuable time so people can evacuate safely and firefighters can do their jobs.

Fire-Resistant Insulation

Using fire-resistant insulation is an important passive fire strategy that also slows a fire’s spread within a property. Its fire-resistant materials withstand high temperatures and form a barrier to protect the underlying structure from the fire’s heat. This helps to keep the building intact longer, making a firefighter’s job much easier.

Pros and Cons of Passive Fire Protection Systems

Pros: Having passive fire protection is a wise fire safety strategy as it gives a constant level of protection with no need for human intervention. It’s exceptional at slowing down fire and quelling the spread of smoke, which can save lives. Most passive fire protection has a long lifespan and needs very little maintenance.

Cons: Just like active systems, passive fire protection can be pricey to install which can cause some building owners to choose not to. It’s also sometimes not effective enough to prevent fire damage completely. This means that having active fire protection in place as well as your passive system is very important.

Lastly, passive fire protection needs regular safety inspections to make sure it remains effective over time.

Key Differences Between Active And Passive Fire Protection Systems

When you compare active and passive fire protection, the key difference is precisely that – one is active and the other is passive.

Active protection systems need some form of action to initiate the firefighting process. For example, a sprinkler needs to identify smoke and a fire extinguisher needs to be activated.

On the other hand, passive protection systems are constantly in position and need no activation. They provide structural fire protection against any fire after it starts, using fire suppression systems as opposed to fire fighting ones.

Is active or passive fire protection more important?

Both active and passive protection are highly important. It all depends on whether you need to put out a fire or control its spread until the emergency services arrive. In a perfect world, you’ll want to combine active and passive fire protection measures to cover all bases.


Installing active and passive fire protection in your home or workplace can be a big task and getting it right is of huge importance. For fire protection you can trust, it’s best to leave it to the professionals. Here at MCFP, we supply and install both active systems to fight and contain fires and passive fire suppression systems. We also only employ qualified and certified, friendly professionals

Our expert team is equipped to answer all of your questions and provide the right fire safety systems for you personally. Feel free to contact us for a fire risk assessment or any of your other fire protection or security needs.