Fire Dampers are a critical part of a buildings safety as they assist in the compartmentalisation of fire areas in a building. They are often located in the HVAC ductwork and their purpose is to block the spread of a fire, in effect closing off the duct at a firewall so they work as part of a larger fire system.
As dampers are seldom seen, there can be a tendency to underestimate their importance and as such, some service companies will rush a visual inspection knowing it is unlikely anyone will ever inspect their inspection.
Dampers can be subject to poor installation, corrosion, blockages and impediments, cumulative dust, microbial growth and mechanical failure. As such, the inspections every 5 years are more important than you at first might think. Chief Mechanical Services takes its inspection obligations seriously and has developed a checklist that includes taking pictures so there is a higher quality of inspection and record.
In summary, our checklist also looks at labels, wall penetrations and gaps and packing, operation of the flaps, check for obstructions, connections, the duct and state of fusible link,
Fire Dampers can be automated but typically there are four mechanical types activated by a fusible thermal link. The types of mechanical fire dampers being Curtain, Single Blade, Multi Blade and Ceiling. As part of the building owners fire safety statement you are required to test 20% per year (AS1851) so you effectively test the functionality of all Fire Dampers in your building over a five year period.
A new development in Fire Dampers are Intumescent Fire Dampers. These act by expanding mechanically under heat. As they are a mesh or slat shape, they are not typically yet used in fan forced ducts. They still need to be accessible for inspection and potentially cleaning.