Firestopping New Cable Installations: Through Penetration of Fire Walls

Using UNIQUE’s  Smooth Firestop System for Through Penetration of Firewalls


Low voltage cable installers are installing cables everywhere. There are CATV, computer, telephone, intercom and security cables running through firewalls in almost every building. Building maintenance people relocate and install cabling systems as well. Because this group of cable installers are for the most part unregulated and are not required to permit their work, firewall penetrations can get out of control and invalidate the protection of the fire barrier. Regulation in the form of licensing, certification and inspection will require cable installers who penetrate firewalls to properly seal them. Conduit must be found and cut, and drywall and mud mixed. If you’re not careful, the conduit will will cut into the cable as you pull it through the conduit. A UL-listed pre-assembled firestop conduit, with all necessary hardware would save time, cut cost, and eliminate the liability incurred from the penetration. [Read more…]

Firestopping by the Numbers: Step by Step For Cable Installers

If you follow the steps listed below, you will guarantee AHJ acceptance.

  1. You must know the hourly rating of the barrier. (5/8″ fire rated gypsum is rated for 1/2 hr. per sheet / Cement Cinder Blocks are rated at 2 hrs.)
  2. Select a UL tested product system with a UL Listing that matches or exceeds the barrier. Pay attention to cable loads and fill procedure for the product system you choose.
  3. Go to the Cable Load Chart link for the product system you chose. Select the proper size Sleeve, based on the % cable fill load permitted in the UL listing.
  4. Seek pre-approval from the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ Inspector). Remember, it is approved if the Inspector says it is!
  5. When installing the System, be sure not to exceed the listing limitations. Read the listing.
  6. After installation, fill out the label and take a picture to document the System for future reference.

Bring on the Inspector!

Split Sleeve Firestop System Assembly Instructions

Determine cable violation in firewall (how many violations), angle of entry or exit. Inspect violation to determine the proper Split Sleeve System size (1″, 2″, 4″ inside diameters). Up to 48% of the aggregate cross-sectional area of the Sleeve may be filled with cables in walls and floors rated up to 2 hours; 34% cable load for 4 hour ratings. See the Load Chart and Installation Pictorial. [Read more…]

Mike Tobias Talks Automotive Firestops in February’s Shop Mag

Mike Tobias, owner of Unique Fire Stop Products, was quoted in Fire: The Ultimate Heat Disaster, an article appearing in The Shop, a car magazine for performance, restyling and customization professionals. Mike, a long-time proponent of racing car fire safety is also the inventor of automotive firestop products designed to keep both the race car driver safe and to protect the interior of the vehicle in case of a fire.

Mike expertise in automotive firestop safety is noted in the article:

Mike Tobias, owner of UNIQUE Fire Stop Products in Robertsdale, Alabama points out that the steel bulkhead between the car’s engine bay and the passenger compartment — the so-called firewall– is actually fairly porous to fire. That’s hardly surprising when one considers all the holes drilled through it for everything from the steering column to the heater hoses to the wiring harness. “All of those wires, cables and hoses will be the first to give way in a fire, ” Tobias warns, as the OE plastic and rubber weather seals around them melt, contributing their own toxins to the mix already entering the passenger compartment. 

Unique Fire Stop offers a variety of products that actually seal off openings when exposed to extreme heat. Wires and hoses can be routed through the Fire Stop, an aluminum sleeve containing intumescent putty; when the putty is exposed to extreme heat, it expands to 8 to 12 times its original size, effectively sealing off the sleeve.

For moving linkages, the company makes a sponge-like plug that won’t interfere with motion but will also expand when exposed to fire. And for filling miscellaneous cracks and seams, it offers Expanding Firestop Foam that, unlike silicone foam or building supply insulators, will not burn and/or produce toxic gas.

“And all our products are accepted for use at NASCAR, IMCA and SCAA,” Tobias adds. 

Read the entire article in the February 2016 issue (use the navigation tool to jump to pages 31-32).

Fire stopping for race cars | Unique Fire Stop Products


Firestop Certification: Customer Testimonials

From a construction coordinator at Time Warner Cable:

time warner cableThank you!

I watched the firestopping video and looked at Fire Stopping By the Numbers and it helped a lot. I thought this was a very informative site, loaded with useful information. Until I got a Construction Coordinator position here at Time Warner Cable I didn’t realize there was so much to know about fire stopping techniques. — Doug G.

[Read more…]

Installation Slideshows for Unique Fire Stop Products

Please visit our Unique Fire Stop Products SlideShare channel where we share installation pictorials for our products and tips and how-to’s designed to make the life of the cable firestop installer easier and worry-free. [Read more…]

The Art of Pleasing the AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction) When Firestopping

With over 40 years in the cabling business and 20+ years as a firestop manufacturer I am confident I can help you if you are routing cables through fire-rated barriers. Here is what you need to know.

Who is an AHJ Inspector?

Inspectors are always the same in that they all carry the burden of being the individual who must approve or disapprove someone’s work or product. All AHJ’s (Authority Having Jurisdiction) want themselves and their organizations to be protected from liability, so naturally it is important to identify who the AHJ is. The American National Electrical Code states that the AHJ is the local, state or federal official designated and responsible for approving equipment, installation or procedure. In essence, the AHJ assumes some liability when he/she makes a decision. [Read more…]

The Automotive Firewall. How to Protect Race Car Drivers.

UNIQUE Extreme Competition Automotive FirestopperHenry Ford saw the value of protecting his equipment and protecting his driver when he invented the first automotive firewall for cars. It was born of necessity. There was no way he could sell cars if the motor should catch fire and the driver or passenger was burned. Ford also envisioned the ability to drive the car without smoke, fumes and gases overwhelming the driver. [Read more…]

Fire Stop Installer Tips: Do’s and Don’ts When Firestopping

Why is it Important to Do Firestopping Correctly?

By Mike Tobias, Unique Fire Stop Products

Firestopping is such a hot issue now because cabling professionals have not been doing a very good job of it. Public safety officials, fire marshals, and building inspectors want us to respect the firewall, which is designed to save lives and property in the event of a fire. In fact, any AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction) will require a cable installer to restore the firewall to it’s previous rating before they approve the job. So it’s very important that firestopping is done correctly. However, there is some confusion as to how to properly firestop a cabling installation. [Read more…]

Fire Stopping Existing Cables: Split Sleeve Advantages


Retrofitting low voltage violations with “approved” or “tested” systems has left a lot to be desired in the past. Most systems dealt only with point of entry and exit. Simply filling in around installed cables with caulk or putty will not satisfy most inspectors. If the cables in question are running equipment that can’t be shut down, like computer systems in hospitals or factories, security cameras or other important systems, you have a problem. [Read more…]