Fire-Proofing your Building with Fire Smoke Dampers
Fires do not only cause damage to a property, it can also cause death. National Fire Protection Association cites that in 2012, fire death can occur every three hours and injury occurs every 32 minutes in the US. About 83% of death that occurs in homes are caused by fire. These statistics only show that it can easily eat your properties to ashes and kill your loved ones in a matter of minutes.
However, often the overlooked fact is that blaze, unlike other causes of death such as illnesses and natural calamities, is preventable. If you take the right preventive measures, you can easily deal with this and the possibilities of them occurring in your home and offices without panicking. The first step towards achieving this kind of security and protection is fire-proofing your home. More than turning off appliances when not in use, reporting grounds and hanging live wires, you will feel more secured with your surroundings if you know that smoke dampers have been installed within the area.
They are often used in HVAC units which offer fire resistance by closing openings where smoke may enter, thus preventing the spread of fire among the ducts that connect the HVAC units. Because of these qualities, fire and smoke dampers have become essential devices for ventilation and HVAC systems.
Smoke dampers come in two types: static and dynamic. HVAC systems often use static fire smoke dampers, which close down when blazes occur. On the other hand, dynamic fire smoke dampers are designed to provide airflow within a certain pressure or velocity.
Installation of this equipment ideally begins during the construction of the building, as the damper is an integral part of the wall. These dampers are often located in the walls and floors. In the case of smoke dampers, these devices are often installed near smoke barriers. Duct-work is often a main consideration of the installation, and installers should ensure that the dampers do not easily fall off and stays firmly on its location to maintain its integrity.
After the installation, proper testing should be conducted to ensure that these devices will not fail in case a fire occurs. Fire smoke dampers at home are ideally tested after one year of its installation, while the proceeding testing should be done after every four years. If the devices are installed in large buildings such as hospitals, the dampers should be tested in six-year interval.
Maintenance of fire smoke dampers include replacement of old and defective parts, proper cleaning, lubrication and removal of unnecessary objects that may prevent the device from working properly. Most of all, checking and testing of fire dampers should properly be documented, which means even the tiniest detail relating to the condition and performance of your dampers should be noted.
Fire smoke dampers, as passive-fire protection devices, form an integral role to the security of your environment against fires. Its necessity and installation should not come as an afterthought, but as an important feature that will keep you safe in your homes and buildings.