Fire Resistant Cable

Fire Resistant Cable

The definition of a fire-resistive or fire-rated cable is a cable that will continue to operate in the presence of a fire. This is commonly known as a circuit integrity (CI) cable and is 2-hour fire-rated.

Mineral Insulated (MI) cable has provided this added protection for decades. MI cable construction uses copper conductors, magnesium oxide and a copper sheath. MI cable comes in single and multiconductor versions. This 2-hour fire-resistive cable is designed for emergency power circuits for fire pumps and emergency generators. MI is labor-intensive and difficult to install and, therefore, is rarely used in low-voltage fire protection and emergency voice systems.

Description

With new developments in wire and cable technology and recent changes in the NEC, a variety of new products have become available. These new CI cables are commonly used in fire alarm and voice communications systems. NEC 760.176 (F) requires CI cables for NFPA fire alarm systems used to meet the survivability of critical circuits requirements and be listed for that function per NFPA 72. Conformance to the code requirements of circuit survivability will ensure the performance of the fire alarm system during a fire emergency.

CI cable also provides flexibility in planning cable routing while minimizing wall and shaft construction. CI cable is typically soft ceramifiable silicone rubber insulation with solid copper conductors. Ceramifiable silicone rubber insulation is soft and flexible until subjected to high temperatures. These CI cable constructions are as flexible as standard fire alarm cables, making them as easy to install as cables that are not fire-rated. They can be installed in standard raceways and conduit and require no special tools or hardware. Special training to handle or install is also not needed as is with MI cable.

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