Keeping Staff and Customers Safe

For any type of building that can hold lots of people or occupied spaces within it, the need for proper installation, testing, maintenance and monitoring of all fire safety elements and equipment is crucial. However, in very large structures such as shopping centres where the number of people inside one complex could reach into the thousands, fire damper safety is absolutely vital in ensuring the safety of everyone inside.

At Swiftclean, our team of dedicated experts are on hand to deliver fast, reliable and cost-effective testing of fire dampers for shopping centres of all size and scope, to ensure compliance and keep everybody safe.

What is a fire damper and how does it work?

A fire damper is  a ‘passive fire protection device’ that is installed in the ductwork of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems to help prevent the spread of smoke and fire. They are usually fitted in areas where things such as fire resistance rated walls, floors or doors are located.

Fire dampers work by acting as a type of shutter which is designed to remain open under normal conditions, allowing the air to flow freely through the ducts.

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    In the event of a fire though, the sensor which usually takes the form of a fusible link or electronic alert (depending on the type), will activate the trigger and cause the shutters to seal closed.

    This creates a vital barrier that slows down the fire and helps to contain it from passing through a fire barrier. Without fire dampers in place, the smoke and fire can quickly pass through the ducts, spreading rapidly to other areas of the building, putting those inside the property in danger, compromising fire exit routes and causing more damage.

    Why are fire dampers so important in shopping complexes?

    If a fire was to break out at a shopping centre, there aren’t just a few dozen people to think about but an unknown number of staff and customers from hundreds to thousands at any one time. Ensuring that everybody is evacuated quickly and safely is the top priority but isn’t necessarily a quick task to achieve, which is why every minute is crucial.

    If the fire dampers in place have not been properly tested and checked, then when the time comes that they are needed the most they can fail to work, allowing smoke and fire to spread rapidly and putting the property and everybody inside at risk.

    When fire dampers are regularly drop tested,  this vital fire safety tool is able to effectively do its job and works to contain smoke and fire and allow more time to safely evacuate all staff, customers and contractors who are inside.

    Shopping centres fire damper testing services

    At Swiftclean, we provide professional fire damper testing,  for all types of shopping centres, outlets and complexes. Our specialist engineers work to ensure that all your fire dampers are in full working order and compliant with the relevant fire safety standards.

    If you would like to find out more or have any questions about our fire damper services, then please do not hesitate to get in touch and one of our friendly advisors will be happy to help.


    What causes fire damper failure?

    Every reasonable measure should be taken to ensure that fire dampers are well looked after, tested and in full working order. Fire damper failure is extremely dangerous and can result in loss of property, damage to the building and casualties because of the smoke and fire not being contained.

    There are a number of things that can cause fire dampers to fail, but some of the most common issues that we find include;

    • Obstructions and blockages
    • Corrosion and rust
    • Poor installation
    • Broken parts such as springs
    • Dirt and debris impacting tight seals

    Proper tests and maintenance can help to make sure that all fire dampers are in top condition and working as they should be.

    What is the process of fire damper testing?

    A fire damper testing and maintenance appointment from the professional team at Swiftclean will typically include:

    • Creation of a fire damper inventory, noting where all of them are located within the building.
    • Each fire damper is individually inspected for any signs of damage, corrosion or obstructions.
    • Every fire damper is tested using the ‘drop test’ method where they are activated and physically ‘dropped’ to check effectiveness.
    • All channels and runners are cleaned.
    • If any dampers need to be repaired or replaced, then advice will be given on what follow up work needs to be completed.
    • All fire dampers are reset.
    • We will produce a comprehensive report detailing all locations, maintenance, agreed repairs, replacements, recommendations and detailed exception reports for any failures found.
    • The report will include photographic evidence of the fire damper testing

    Is it a legal requirement to get fire dampers tested?

    It is a legal requirement under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order to ensure proper maintenance of fire safety equipment and BS:9999 2017 states that all fire dampers must be tested at regular intervals, no more than 12 months apart. Fire damper testing must be carried out in accordance with fire safety in the design, management and use of buildings code of practice (BS:9999), using a method known as ‘drop testing’.

    It falls under the responsibility of whoever owns, manages or is in charge of the property to ensure that all fire dampers are correctly maintained, cleaned, tested and compliant with BS 9999. As the person responsible they will be held accountable in the event a fire breaks out and the dampers fail, with severe consequences such as hefty fines, penalties and even a prison sentence.

    Swiftclean commitment:

    • Identify and locate each fire damper
    • Retrofit access doors if any of these are inaccessible
    • Carry out fire damper testing, cleaning and drop testing and reset each fire damper
    • Provide accurate records of fire damper testing, cleaning and drop testing, including before and after photographs of cleaning
    • Identify any problems and recommend remedial action
    • Carry out remedial work where required

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    Please call us or email for further advice and a free quote.

    CALL 0800 243 471

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