Horsebreeders who want to prevent the devastating consequences of a fire build concrete stables for their thoroughbreds. Yet we often put our families in apartments that are tinder traps, and our businesses in buildings that may collapse during a severe fire. Can we learn something from the horsebreeders? The arguments in favor of concrete horse barns apply just as convincingly to low-rise commercial buildings and multifamily housing units. Choosing fire-resistive concrete and masonry construction is one of the most practical ways to get maximum fire protection. Concrete doesn't burn or feed a fire. In compartmented construction, concrete not only acts as a barrier to contain the flames but also provides structural elements that will withstand fires longer periods without collapsing. Building code fire resistance ratings don't take several important factors into account: behavior of the structure beyond the fire-rated time; reuse of the structure; and damage to building contents. On these three issues, concrete scores remarkably high. Fire-resistive, noncombustible concrete construction, in combination with other life-safety systems such as sprinklers and smoke alarms, is the most practical way to ensure maximum fire protection.