Fire Damper Testing Case Study

Location: Hospital A

Initial Situation

In April 2020, a boiler room issue caused a fire at Hospital A. Fortunately no one was injured in the incident but it raised a few questions about fire safety and prevention. This resulted in a full-scale investigation to determine the causes of the fire.

The investigation concluded that several different reasons could have contributed to the fire. One of the major reasons had to do with the testing and maintenance of the Fire/Smoke dampers.

The fire damper record that the client had for the building was outdated. This is why to prevent future fire incidents the client asked ECE Group to perform a survey of the fire dampers in their building.

Solution

ECE conducted a full-scale survey of the building and identified issues related to the fire dampers. It took three visits by the ECE to carry out the complete process.

The outdated fire damper record given by the client only showed 38 fire dampers in the building however upon inspection of the entire building 37 other dampers were also located.

The ECE created asset IDs for all the dampers at the building which would help maintain them regularly. As the fire dampers weren’t maintained regularly there were many functional issues with the dampers which were also resolved. New dampers were installed on the ventilation system, faulty dampers were replaced and accessibility was improved for hard-to-reach dampers. This was done to help with future inspections.

The results of the survey helped the client understand the importance of regular inspection and maintenance of fire dampers. This is why the client has now actioned regular inspection of fire dampers in their other buildings as well.

Please Note

Fire dampers are as important as any other fire safety and prevention technique like fire stopping and fire doors. They are crucial in stopping the fire from spreading throughout the building. When there is a fire, the fire dampers close and the fire is confined within a small area.

Using fire dampers is in accordance with the Fire Safety Reform Act 2005. This ensures that the damage caused by fire is minimal which is why they need to work properly at all times.

It is the responsibility of the building owners to invest in fire safety and prevention efforts. The fire dampers should be strategically placed within ducts that are passing through fire compartments.

Building owners should familiarise themselves with BS9999 and BESATB001 to have a clear understanding of how they should go about using dampers. Here are some main points from the safety standards mentioned above.

  1. All locations of the dampers should be recorded
  2. Spring-loaded dampers should be inspected annually
  3. Check the operation of the damper
  4. Clean the dampers regularly
  5. Document maintenance, replacement and other processes with photographic evidence

Any building owner who complies with these standards will be able to mitigate the risk of fire spreading throughout the building.

Checking the dampers regularly will ensure that all technical issues are identified and resolved timely so that in case there is a fire, the dampers can stop it from spreading.

ECE Group offer tailor-made services across London, Surrey and the South-East of England covering all aspects of Specialist Fire Safety Services and Facility Support.

We offer specialist cleaning services including grease extract ventilation cleaning, laundry extract ventilation cleaning and ductwork cleaning.

We also offer fire safety solutions including fire compartmentation, fire stopping and fire and smoke dampers testing and inspecting.

Contact us today on:

Tel: 020 3757 7150

Email: info@ecegroup.co.uk

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