Fire and Smoke Damper Inspections
What is a fire and smoke damper
A fire and smoke damper is a life saving mechanism built within your air ventilation duct work and is vital to the buildings fire safety.
What do they do
Types of damper
What we test
Health and safety benefits of clean ducts
They are designed to stop the spread of smoke and fire throughout a building and are placed at strategic points along the ducting. These points are where the ducting will pass through fire rated compartment walls and designated exit routes.Therefore aiding the length of time for evacuation and helping fire fighters concentrate efforts on the task in hand of preventing the further spread of fire.
There are many makes of damper on the market, but typically there are two types.
Mechanical dampers, which will stop the spread of fire but will allow a certain amount of smoke through the vent. These are not suitable for escape routes or areas with a sleeping risk. These dampers have a fusible link and when the temperature reaches 72 degrees Celsius the link will activate the metal curtain or shutter, closing off the vent.
Motorised dampers are usually fitted along escape routes and around sleeping accommodation, these will prevent the spread of both smoke and fire from spreading in the building. These systems do not use the fusible link but are equipped with a thermal sensor and linked to a smoke detector and detection system.
In buildings such as hospitals, care homes, schools and offices, most locations of the fire dampers are unknown to the Responsible Person.
The Responsible Person must ensure they are properly maintained and regularly tested in compliance to BS9999-Annex W.1.2017.
The time scale between inspections should not exceed 12 months and is highly important to do this because if a tenant, employee or member of the public should die from a building fire and it is found out to be from poorly maintained dampers, then those responsible for the building could be liable to prosecution.
I will carry out a visual check but most importantly a manual drop test check. This will be accompanied by a written and photographic report.
What we inspect in a mechanical damper:
Damage to the curtain (metal shutter)
Obstructions in the operation of the shutter
Corrosion in the springs
Check the fusible burn link is still in tact
Drop test to ensure a full seal is made and no bent fins
Overall cleanliness of the duct work
The same checks are carried out on the motorised dampers, but with the addition of timing the closure action to ensure it closes within the manufactures specifications.
By having your dampers and duct work regularly inspected and cleaned, this will prevent a build up of dust and dirt.
Dust particle sizes vary from visible to invisible, the smaller the particle the longer they stay in the air and the further they travel.
Larger dust particles tend to land near where they were created, these are what you see on items like furniture and cars. These larger particles get trapped in the nose and mouth when you breathe in and are easily breathed out or swallowed harmlessly.
Smaller invisible particles are more likely to to be breathed into the lungs, while ultra fine particles can be absorbed directly into the blood stream.
These dust particles may cause:
A clean and well maintained duct system will prevent the build up of airborne particles which may cause the above symptoms.
Bacteria swab testing also carried out on request.