Ventilation Fire and Smoke Integrity Testing
Fire Damper Maintenance – The Hidden Dangers
Our experience and knowledge shows that, as the ducting is hidden above ceiling tiles and is out of sight, the maintenance and cleaning is often forgotten until an issue occurs. As a result; Fire Dampers (FD) are not inspected or tested in accordance with the HTM code of practice.
Fire Dampers are used in heating, ventilation and air conditioning ducts to prevent the spread of fire inside the ductwork through fire-resistance rated walls and floors.
In the event of a rise in temperature; the fire damper closes, usually activated by a thermal element. This melts at a temperature higher than ambient but low enough to indicate the presence of a fire allowing springs to close the damper blades. Fire dampers are activated when an electrical signal from the fire alarm system is activated by detectors remote from the damper, indicating the sensing of heat or smoke in the buildings occupied spaces or in the duct system.
In a normal working environment, the dampers are open, however it is vital to ensure that they will close effectively when required. By providing a barrier beyond which the fire cannot pass, effective fire dampers save lives; so regular damper testing (known as drop testing) as well as fire damper cleaning and maintenance is both a legal requirement and a critical part of the building fire safety management.
In accordance with BS9999:2017, now specifies that all fire dampers should be drop tested, cleaned and tested at least every year. This is because normal use of the ventilation system gathers an accumulation of contamination on the fire damper and its operational parts. This must be removed and the fire damper tested regularly to ensure that its operates as designed, should a fire occur.
How we can help:
- Identify and locate each fire damper
- Modify and retrofit access hatches where access is difficult
- Carry out fire damper testing, cleaning and drop testing
- Provide accurate records and photographic evidence of fire damper testing, cleaning and drop testing
- Provide detailed report on problem areas and recommend remedial actions
- Carry out remedial works where required.