Active and passive fire protection

Passive fire protection measures don't actively fight fire. These measures focus on slowing and containing the spread of fire using fire resistant walls, floors and fire doors. Passive fire protection breaks buildings into compartments that help isolate and contain fires when they happen. 

Active fire protection measures, on the other hand, provide some way for people to respond to and actively stop a fire. Some active fire systems, like sprinkler systems, fire alarms or smoke detectors are automatic. Others, like fire extinguishers and fire blankets are manual. 


A sprinkler system works by discharging a spray of water when it detects fire or high temperatures, therefore extinguishing any flames at source and deliver benefits that far exceed the cost of installation and maintenance.

If businesses in Cheshire fitted sprinklers in their premises it would help prevent damage from needless fires.

It is estimated that commercial fires cost more than £2 billion to the UK's economy every year and the Department for Communities and Local Government estimates the cost of a fire fatality at £1.65m.

In light of this we want business owners, builders, developers, managers and planners to consider installing sprinklers, especially where there is a risk-based case for doing so.

Fire doors

Fire doors save lives and property.

About three million new fire doors are bought and installed every year in the UK. But, to save lives, fire doors must work correctly.

  • They are part of a building’s passive fire protection system and are fundamental to most fire strategies for buildings.

  • They provide critical protection within a building such as escape routes (stairs and corridors) and places of relative safety, and in separating different fire hazards in a building.

Importance of fire doors

Important information about fire doors:

  • To save lives, fire doors must work correctly.

  • They must be tested and third-party certificated to BS 476 Part 22 or BS EN 1634 Part 1.

  • They must be fitted with the correct and compatible components suited to the door leaf and its purpose.

  • Like any fire safety device, they should be installed and maintained by competent people.

  • Never prop open a fire door.

Five step fire door check

There is a five step that you need to carry out on all fire doors within your premises. 

Download the five step fire door check leaflet:

Leaflet - five step fire door check (new window, PDF 69KB)

Spotting a faulty fire door

Download the following leaflet which contains information about how to spot a faulty fire door:

Leaflet - Indicators of fire door failure (new window, PDF 2063KB)

Fire doors - what to do

  • Buy fire doors, frames and components from certificated companies.

  • Check the certificate matches the door.

  • Install and maintain fire doors using competent personnel.

  • Make sure that ironmongery components are CE marked.

Fire doors - don't

  • Fit a fire door like any other door – it’s not, it’s an engineered safety device.

  • Cut vision panels and other holes on site.

  • Patch up a fire door.

  • Take risks by reducing the specification.

  • Disconnect a fire door closer.

  • Prop or wedge open a fire door.

Fire Safety (England) Regulations - How to comply with Regulation 10

Does your building contain two or more domestic premises and common parts? Then have a read of the new simple guide to fire doors for Responsible Persons - it looks at how to conduct routine checks and provide information to residents.

A simple guide to fire doors for Responsible Persons: how to conduct routine checks and provide information to residents

Last updated: Friday, 1 March 2024