Fire Compartmentation in Action: How It Works

Just last week, while out working on a client’s site in Newham, we witnessed a fire break out in a block of flats nearby. It’s always scary to see, of that there’s no doubt. But, we’d be lying if we said that seeing some of the services we offer as a business come into play in a real-life emergency isn’t fascinating: fire compartmentation in action.



Fire compartmentation is an important aspect of managing fire hazards in any commercial building or property which houses more than one residence (such as the flats you see here). We can clearly see that, thankfully, the fire was contained largely to just one or very few units within – a job well done.

“Compartmentation” means to piece off larger parts of a building into small, more easily contained areas. By using literal barriers within the structure of a property, we’re able to slow the spread of smoke. This in turn slows down the rate of smoke inhalation by those inside, alongside giving occupants more time to evacuate.

As we explained in a previous blog, fire compartmentation can also contain the fire itself at its origin for longer. This not only provides critical time for those evacuating, but can prevent yet more damage to the building. Again to refer to our example; here you can see that there was little damage done to the windows and wall surrounding the unit which contained the fire. Essentially, compartmenting your property is a proven method to reducing the spread of smoke and fire if one were to break out.

But when should fire compartmentation be implemented? Whilst it’s something which many builders do think about prior to or during construction, it’s possible to retrofit such measures into existing properties. Usually, we’ll create a barrier between floors and certain walls, all of which can be input after the fact. Measures such as fire and smoke curtains, a heavy-duty but flexible option, are useful in these instances where construction has finished.

If you ever needed proof that it works, it’s right there to see.

Our team here at Excel Fire is proud to work in an industry which helps real people, every day; reminders like this just serve to increase our passion for what we do. If you’d like to talk more about fire partitioning installations and fire compartmentation by our highly-qualified team, get in touch today.