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Understanding Firewall Basics

Matthew Stuart, P.E., S.E., P. Eng.

Course Outline

This course will provide the user with a general understanding of the different types of firewalls. Four types of firewalls are discussed and include a firewall, a standard firewall, fire barriers and fire partitions. Openings and penetrations in firewalls are also discussed. Closing mechanisms associated with firewall openings and penetrations are also described.

This course includes a multiple choice quiz at the end.

Learning Objective

This course will provide the user with a basic understanding of the distinctions between a firewall, fire barrier and fire partition. This course will delineate the differences in both the design and ratings of the four major types of firewalls. Recommendations concerning the construction requirements of firewalls and the restrictions on openings and penetrations in firewalls are provided.

Course Introduction

Firewalls are required in buildings to satisfy the life safety mandates of both national and local building and fire codes. Both the minimum fire resistance ratings and construction restrictions vary greatly between the different types of firewalls. Understanding the differences between firewalls, barriers and partitions will enable the building designer to better interpret and implement the requirements of these codes.

Course Content

This course content is in the following PDF document:

Understanding Firewall Basics

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Course Summary

There are four types of walls that help mitigate the spread of fires and protect building occupants. These walls include firewalls, standard firewalls, fire barriers and fire partitions. A standard firewall must provide a minimum fire resistance rating of 4-hours. A firewall must provide a minimum fire resistance rating of either 3 or 4-hours. Fire barriers and fire partitions provide a minimum of 2 to 3-hours and 1 to 2-hours of fire resistance rating, respectively.

Openings in firewalls must also be constructed to satisfy the same minimum fire resistance rating as the wall in which they are located. Wall penetrations likewise must also provide a fire rating equal to or greater than the effected wall. Closing mechanisms for both protected wall openings and penetrations must be carefully scrutinized in order to insure the proper functioning of the equipment intended to prevent the breach of the firewall at the opening or penetration.



Once you finish studying the above course material, you need to take a quiz to obtain the PDH credits.


Take a Quiz

DISCLAIMER: The materials contained in the online course are not intended as a representation or warranty on the part of or any other person/organization named herein. The materials are for general information only. They are not a substitute for competent professional advice. Application of this information to a specific project should be reviewed by a registered professional engineer. Anyone making use of the information set forth herein does so at their own risk and assumes any and all resulting liability arising therefrom.