26 Jul 2017

Are Your Fire Dampers Up to Standard?

The testing and maintenance standard of fire dampers in ventilation was revised in January (BS: 9999). Fire safety is not a topic that should be taken lightly, and in an industrial setting there are so many different hazards and potential risks that can cause a fire, so it’s important to conduct regular and thorough maintenance checks.

It’s a legal requirement for fire dampers to be installed at the point of the building where the ventilation system cause a breach in the wall. This way, in the event of a fire, the dampers can contain the flames and prevent the fire from spreading throughout the building.

Clamping down on safety:

What exactly is a fire damper? You may be wondering. A fire damper is essentially a set of louvres that open and close – they are installed in the ventilation system where there is an intersection.

After the tragedy that happened at Grenfell Tower, where at least 80 people lost their lives in a fire, that engulfed the 23 story building, there has been a clamp down on safety and maintenance. This is in order to ensure that in the event of an emergency, all fire protection assets work correctly.

Fire dampers are tested by a method which is referred to as “drop testing”. Drop testing ensures that the louvres will drop into the closed position and remain shut when required to do so. If they do not shut, then they need to be fixed or replaced immediately, otherwise they will not prove to be useful in the event of an emergency.

How often should fire dampers be tested?

The UK standard for tests are fairly ambiguous, but regulations state that this testing and maintenance period should “not exceed 2 years”. As a rule, fire dampers should be tested at least every 12 months, and should have regular maintenance checks in order to assure that they function properly.

As well as considering the time scale, it’s important to also consider the environment that the fire dampers operate in. For example, if they are in a dusty environment, then they will need to be frequently cleaned, and also tested on a less sporadic time scale.

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