9/11 Tragedy Inspires Innovation in the Fire Protection Industry
Fifteen years ago, the world was shocked by the events of September 11th… a day the world will never forget. The events of that horrific day drove a construction contractor named Al Shaw to completely rethink passive fire protection.
"...to see the people trapped in those towers devastated me like everybody else but that’s when I really started looking at what I could do as a person, what could I do as an individual in the fire and the construction business to help situations like that." - Al Shaw
As a construction contractor in New York, Al Shaw experienced the challenges of the passive fire protection industry first hand. From poorly-made products to difficult installations to inconsistent methodologies, he knew there had to be a better way to contain the heat, smoke and flame inherent in high-rise fires and prevent catastrophe. One year later, at 5:20 am, Fireline 520® was born.
Expansion joint fire barriers and their role in high-rise fires
Expansion joint fire barriers not only help prevent the spread of actual flames, but also help contain the smoke and noxious chemicals they carry with them.
When specified and installed properly, fire barriers help prevent fire and smoke from penetrating an expansion joint opening for a specified amount of time, called the rating period. And giving occupants time to evacuate is what passive fire barriers help do.
However, tear a fire barrier and smoke and heat can get though. Get a fire barrier wet and it becomes worthless. Don’t install fire barriers properly per manufacturer’s specifications or leave gaps and you put occupants' lives at risk. Allow any of these things to happen, and you greatly increase the risk of death in high-rise and structural fires.
Goal: Effective solution that is easy to install
With all his years in construction, Al had seen all the bad things that can happen to fire barriers during installation at the job site.
Al invented Fireline 520® Expansion Joint Fire Barriers for easy installation to maintain effectiveness. Several key elements give Fireline 520 barriers a critical advantage:
- All Fireline 520® fire barriers are pre-assembled with integral flanges for quick, out of the box installation.
- Patented male/female joint system ensures fire barrier seam integrity.
- Water Guard® system with unique UL 2079 rated waterproof design.
A 9/11 inspiration is now part of the new World Trade Center
Al Shaw’s story has come full circle: Fireline 520® is now installed in the new World Trade Center Towers 3 and 4.
After years of development and fine tuning, Fireline 520 was used in the construction of Citi Field in 2007. Inspired by events in New York City, Fireline’s first chance to shine was right down the street. It was not long before Yankee Stadium heard about Fireline 520 and used the product in the 2008 renovation.
Since then the product has been used all over the globe. Stadiums, hotels, hospitals and many more have chosen the Fireline 520® and Water Guard® systems as their passive fire protection solution.
But this isn’t the end for Fireline 520. With new product developments under way, we can only imagine what level of innovation they’ll bring to the industry next.
If you're interested in learning more about Fireline 520 Fire Barrier Systems, you can visit our page here.