Who tests the fire and smoke dampers in your facility? This is perhaps one of the most common misconceptions that we run across in the field and we wanted to take just a moment to help try and clear up any confusion you might have about who tests what. Many people think that their alarm company in fact tests the dampers during their routine annual inspection of the alarm. This is not the case, as illustrated in the steps below.
Combination Fire and Smoke Dampers
STEP 1 – The relay and alarm panel is test by the alarm company making sure the alarm panel is “speaking” to the actuator/motor on the damper.
STEP 2 – The smoke detector or relay from the area smoke detector system is tested by the alarm company, but they do not test the damper.
Actuator/motor is tested by a damper expert making sure the damper operated and is in compliance with NFPA 105.
Fire Damper Inspection
Fire dampers are operated manually and are not connected to an alarm panell, therefore the alarm company would not test them. In an emergency, the fire damper closes when the fusible link melt at a specified rating per link.
Fire dampers are tested and inspected by a damper expert who manually releases the link ensuring the damper operated per NFPA 80.
We have created this cheat sheet for you to help you better understand the difference between the alarm test and the code mandated fire and smoke damper inspection.
Damper Expert such as LSS
|Test relay is communicating with smoke damper from Fire Panel||YES (Per NFPA 72)||no|
|Develop report showing a listing of the location of all dampers with identifier, a pass/fail result complete with a detailed explanation of failed dampers if applicable||no||YES (Per NFPA 80 and 105)|
|Digital photographs of each damper before and after performance of the inspection services (showing each damper opened and where operable, closed)||no||YES (Per NFPA 80 and 105)|
|Operate (i.e. actuate) all dampers||no||YES (Per NFPA 80 and 105)|
|Remove and reset all fusible links on fire dampers to verify closure||no||YES (Per NFPA 80 and 105)|
|Replace fusible links that are compromised||no||YES (Per NFPA 80 and 105)|
|As necessary, lubricate all moving parts on each damper||no||YES (Per NFPA 80 and 105)|
|Clear each damper of any debris that would impede normal operation||no||YES (Per NFPA 80 and 105)|
|Coordinate with local fire department to place customer’s fire alarm system in test mode to conduct inspection of smoke and /or combination dampers||no||YES (Per NFPA 80 and 105)|
|Manually activate actuators on electric & pneumatic smoke and or combination dampers to verify operation||no||YES (Per NFPA 80 and 105)|
|If no access to existing damper, properly sized access doors will be installed by contractor to facilitate inspection||no||YES (Per NFPA 80 and 105)|
|Apply identification stickers on ceilings or other location to assist in locating dampers following inspection||no||YES (Per NFPA 80 and 105)|
|Provide customer with pricing to repair dampers that have failed an inspection||no||YES (Per NFPA 80 and 105)|
|Provide customer with repairs of failed dampers||no||YES (Per NFPA 80 and 105)|
|Mark locations of dampers on customer drawings if applicable||no||YES (Per NFPA 80 and 105)|
|If damper inaccessible, location will still be mapped on prints and included in report||no||YES (Per NFPA 80 and 105)|
Keep in mind that dampers fail frequently. Periodic inspection is the only way to confirm full functionality. Roughly 10% of dampers fail in facilities with a history of performing routine damper inspections. A staggering 35% of dampers fail in those facilities not performing periodic inspections. Where does your facility fall?