Fire Life Safety (FLS) systems are a vital component in existing and new construction. Of these, Fire Smoke Dampers (FSD) are among the most critical. These devices are located at HVAC duct penetrations through fire rated walls, ceilings, and floors. The function of these devices is to prevent fire and smoke from propagating through HVAC ductwork—giving occupants time to exit the facility and help minimize building damage in the case of a fire. However, as buildings and systems age and physical, mechanical, or electrical issues occur, dampers can become inoperable—leaving the duct as an open path for fire and smoke during a fire, and the facility at risk of being shut down due to lack of compliance. Testing and maintaining Fire Smoke Dampers verifies and documents that critical FLS building systems operate as required.
Who needs Fire Smoke Damper Testing?
Code enforcement of FSD testing by federal, state, and local Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) has broadened from the healthcare sector to:
- Assisted Living and Acute care facilities
- Transitional and Rehabilitation facilities
- Commercial buildings
- Educational institutions
NorthWest Engineering Service Inc.’s began working on FLS systems in 2003. Our substantial background in Commissioning (Cx) and Testing, Adjusting, and Balancing (TAB) has put us in a unique position to execute audit surveys of HVAC systems, identify and functionally test all Fire Smoke Dampers, and provide documentation to meet AHJ requirements.
We help building owners, operators, and facility staff by providing the following:
- Field investigation and device labeling
- Building HVAC system drawings documenting fire smoke damper locations
- Damper testing spreadsheet listing access requirements
- Sorted photo log FSD components and damper functions
- Actionable plan of corrections list
Standards and codes for FLS systems are defined by associations such as the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the International Code Council (ICC), as well as by local authorities. Facility owners are responsible for testing their systems at the appropriate intervals, and having the appropriate documentation verifying functional operation.