Firestop Technology Improving in Times of Drought and Wildfires

As the U.S. continues to face a horrendous and damaging drought, advanced firestop products are becoming ever more important to businesses and workers.

Much of the news focuses on the drought in California, and while it is especially severe there, the issue is spread across a large portion of the Southwest and Plains. According to the National Drought Mitigation Center, for the four-week period ending Feb. 3, contiguous drought coverage rose to 28.4 percent of the U.S. The Midwest and East Coast are mostly OK, but the upper Midwest states such as Minnesota and the Dakotas are experiencing various levels of dryness. Since February, the drought has only spread.

Droughts across the country create serious fire risks. For example, a wildfire near Corona, California, in mid-April spread across 300 acres – threatening businesses, workers, homes and residents. Fires like this and the continuously spreading drought only increase the need for businesses to take fire containment and fire stop products into consideration for every project.

Firestop Requirements

The National Fire Protection Association 101, the NFPA 70, National Electric Code and many other commercial and residential building codes require various levels of firestop protection. The reason for this necessity is small gaps and openings in walls, floors and ceilings greatly contribute to fires spreading throughout buildings, increasing the physical damage as well as risk to human life. Fire stop products fill holes and gaps in construction to slow the progress of fire and smoke. These materials buy occupants of the building time to reach safety while also potentially saving parts of the building.

Fire Stop Technology is Improving

Fire containment products can be cumbersome and increasingly take up workers’ time. Products such as putties, caulks, wool and foam have to be cut and shaped or take various tools to apply, which means workers have to juggle numerous supplies in awkward places to ensure firestop products are properly installed – not to mention the number of times they go back and forth between the application and supplies.

Fire Block FoamInstead of relying on time-consuming and uncomfortable methods, 3M created a new firestop product that isn’t runny like many foams or itchy like some materials. The 3M Foam-in-Place 1-Step Firestop Foam allows workers to use one piece of equipment – they simply point the nozzle and pull the trigger. The foam stays put and expands at a consistent rate to fill the space. It can be used in both vertical and horizontal projects. Additionally, it’s UL listed for many applications and meets the purpose of the International Building Code.

3M has an entire line of firestop products as well as an online firestop education program, which offers installation tips. For projects that require fire stop products but don’t necessary need to be rated for commercial building codes, 3M offers FIP Fire Block Foam FB-Foam, which comes in a small, easy-to-hold cannister with a nozzle for easy application.

Proper fire containment plans and products are always necessary, and the widespread effects of the drought in the U.S. only increase the need for safe, efficient and easy-to-install products.