Fire Damper Drop Testing

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fire_damper-open-jammedDuctwork can unfortunately transfer flame and smoke very quickly through a building in the event of a fire. The heat build up inside the duct can cause any combustible material in close proximity to the ductwork, such as roof joists, to burst into flames. This can cause considerable damage to the building resulting in significantly higher insurance claims and present fire fighters with a more difficult task than need be.

Fire dampers therefore are a vitally important part of any ventilation system and need to be part of a fire damper maintenance programme to ensure correct operation. Indeed BS9999 Fire Damper Regulations, calls for the following “Arrangements should be made for all fire dampers to be tested by a competent person on completion of installation and at regular intervals not exceeding 2 years, and to be repaired or replaced immediately if found to be faulty. Spring operated fire dampers should be tested annually and fire dampers situated in dust laden and similar atmospheres should be tested much more frequently, at periods to suit the degree of pollution.” HTM03-1 also calls for fire dampers in hospitals to be tested every 12 months.

Because of the location of ventilation ductwork all too often this essential work is overlooked. In the course of our duct cleaning work we have witnessed many examples of poor maintenance such as;

  • Collapsed Blades
  • Parted Fusible Links
  • Inoperative Cassettes
  • Corroded Or Jammed Springs
  • Jammed Open With Wood
  • Installed Incorrectly i.e. Wrong Airflow Direction Or Upside Down

The photographs show a fire damper in the jammed and open position.

Ductbusters will perform a fire damper inspection and “drop test” on all fire dampers, subject to access, and advise on any remedial work that needs to be done so that the “jammed” situation does not occur and the fire integrity of the ductwork system is not compromised.

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