Fire damper testing

Fire dampers are essentially fire safety metal curtain devices that fall within your buildings air ventilation ductwork systems in the event of a fire within a building. They are designed to stop fire and smoke spreading through a building and are strategically positioned at various places where ductwork passes through fire compartment walls, floors or zones within a building. They are life saving pieces of equipment and a vital part of a buildings fire safety, designed to help contain a fire within a certain zone for a period of time, so that a building can be evacuated and fire fighters can reach and concentrate their efforts on a blaze that has been kept within a contained area of the building.

Fire Damper Testing

For a quotation on getting your fire dampers tested

Responsible for the fire safety in your building?

If a building is your responsibility then it’s important to note that British Standards 9999:2017 appendix W recommends that all fire damper types should be tested and inspected at regular intervals not exceeding 12 months. It’s important to you because should an employee or tenant die in a buildings fire where it is found that poorly maintained ductwork and fire dampers were the cause of these deaths then those responsible are liable to prosecution under the Corporate Manslaughter Act of 2007.

Types of Fire Dampers

Typically there are two types of Fire Damper, which are classified as Mechanical or ‘E’ dampers that stop the spread of fire but don’t stop the spread of cold smoke and are unsuitable for escape routes and areas with a sleeping risk.

The more expensive motorised Fire and Smoke dampers or ‘ES’ Class are fitted to escape routes or areas with a sleeping risk that can prevent fire and smoke spreading through a building.

The E class dampers are typically mechanical fire dampers that use a fusible link to trigger them when temperatures reach 72 degrees Celsius within the ductwork.

The ES class, are automatic motorised dampers linked to a smoke detector and equipped with a thermal sensor to trigger them rather than a fusible link and will close off in the event of a fire or detection of smoke. Both of these types of damper require the same annual maintenance and safety checks and even though the ES systems can be centrally controlled and managed by a Building Management System (BMS) and faults located. It’s only with a professional qualified ventilation ductwork maintenance operative to locate, visually inspect and carry out a physical drop test to ensure that each Fire Damper device is operating correctly and the internal cleanliness of the damper recorded (as heavy contamination of dirt and dust can prevent it fully closing allowing smoke and fire to pass) during an annual maintenance test or survey.

The ventilation operative will need access to the buildings technical drawings to see the accurate representation of a buildings ductwork design and to know the amount and location of where the Fire Dampers have been installed throughout your buildings.

Fire Damper accessibility

Once a Fire Damper is located then they may need to fit access doors to the ductwork to make them accessible for testing and cleaning in accordance with BESA’s TR-19 (an industry guide to good practice for internal cleanliness of ventilation systems).

What needs to be checked when testing a Fire Damper?

Operatives will then need to carry out an internal visual inspection of the dampers looking for:

  • Damage or obstructions to the curtain
  • Internal blades operating and closing fully
  • Spring mechanism working
  • Channels and side rails clear of any obstructions
  • Fusible link in-tact and correct type fitted
  • Dirt, dust or contamination levels of the ductwork that could be causing it to not fully close or operate correctly in the event of a fire
  • Drop testing the Fire Damper to ensure correct working order
  • Any other faults.

Fire Damper written and photographic reports

At the end of this survey and testing process then you should request and receive a written report detailing the position of each damper within the building along with the test date, name of operative with their written notes and recommendations for faults or any further actions required for fire safety and photographs taken for each damper showing the condition of the damper on inspection and after testing.

Ensure you are fully fire safety compliant with regular Fire Damper testing and maintenance

Gemini Fire is part of the Gemini AMPM (Asset Management and Planned Maintenance) group of companies who offer a Fire Damper testing, cleaning and maintenance service, in accordance with BS 9999:2017 so that you know that all your fire dampers are drop tested, cleaned and maintained at least once every year.

If you are the designated fire prevention officer or person responsible for the fire safety within your building and would like your fire dampers tested and maintained with a written report provided to show your compliance then please get in touch.

Fire Damper Testing

For a quotation on getting your fire dampers tested

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