No matter how careful you are to protect your property and family, there is no way to predict how and when a fire will start. It may not even happen in your home, but in a neighbors. A smoldering cigarette may fall from an ashtray, a candle may be left unattended, or a cooking oil fire may occur. Minimum two-hour non-combustible concrete and masonry walls between living units and between living units and public spaces will protect families from accidents and carelessness in adjacent units and areas.

Noncombustible concrete and masonry construction resists fire, does not burn, and provides fire containment through compartmentation or division into units. In addition, concrete and masonry construction does not produce smoke, fumes, or gases — all valuable benefits for providing life safety and property protection.

With minimum two-hour non-combustible concrete and masonry fire protection, fire and smoke can be contained, allowing the fire to burn itself out or to be easily extinguished by fire sprinklers or firefighters. In such cases, the concrete and masonry construction not only provides life safety benefits, but may also limit the fire, smoke, and water damage to adjacent units.

The structural integrity inherent in typical concrete and masonry multi-family dwellings permits safe and easy access for emergency responders to aid in evacuation and to exercise the most efficient options for extinguishing most fires. The fire containment and the ability of firefighters to attack the fire in an effective manner further increase life safety and property protection.

Combining minimum two-hour non-combustible concrete and masonry separations with minimum one-hour fire resistant-rated concrete or masonry exterior walls protects occupants not just from fires within their building but also from fires in adjacent buildings, as combustibles on the exterior of buildings have been documented to ignite when buildings more than 90 feet away are on fire.

When it comes to building construction and occupant safety and comfort, there is no comparison to non-combustible concrete and masonry construction. For more information about combining smoke detectors, fire sprinklers, and passive fire protection visit the Pennsylvania Fire Safety Construction Advisory Council.