Is Tech Making Fire Damper Inspections Better or Worse
Technology has given us immense convenience and flexibility. However, in the case of fire dampers that are installed in facilities such as hospitals, colleges and universities, and company offices, there are mixed reviews. While advances in technology have led to improved manufacturing and process efficiency capabilities, it has still not resulted in highly efficient fire damper systems that are capable of preventing fires in all instances.
How Technology Has Improved Fire Damper Inspections
Fire damper inspections form part of NFPA building regulations and policies. Failing to conform to these standards can result in major fines and penalties. To meet these standards, The Joint Commission uses various means of technology to improve the efficiency of their inspections.
Software tools enable facility managers to draw and mark dampers on maps with incredible accuracy to ensure it does not interfere with the structural integrity of the building, thereby conform to NFPA codes and regulations.
How Technology Has Made Fire Damper Inspections Worse
Fire dampers inspections have not become ideal either through the use of technology. The failure rate of fire dampers is still high and technology has still not enabled building managers to ensure impeccable performance. Fire dampers are still subject to failure because of foreign objects. We have found dampers that were stuck in the open position with bricks, wood blocks, etc. For this reason, fire damper inspections have to be carried out on a routine basis to ensure all components work smoothly and without any issues.
Another reason how technology has contributed to poor inspections is because of faulty actuators. These are controlled electronically to operate dampers upon detection of smoke of fire. Actuators, however, fail to function properly due to a lack of air in the actuators and in worse cases, cease functioning altogether in a power outage. There was a major recall many years ago and we still find the ineffective dampers during inspection.
In conclusion, technology has been useful in carrying out fire damper inspections.