If your building were to catch on fire, do you feel confident that its occupants could be safely evacuated? Although active fire protection devices like smoke detectors and sprinkler systems will alert people to the emergency and begin to suppress the fire, they are not able to prevent the passage of smoke or other toxic combustion gasses. It is because of this that most building codes and engineers agree that the use of passive devices, such as combination fire and smoke dampers, is so crucial. Here’s a look at what these devices are, how Ruskin dampers work, and how they can save lives.
What are fire/smoke dampers?
Combination smoke/fire dampers are devices that are installed in ducts and the air transfer openings of air distribution systems in order to prevent the passage of combustion particles and gases in the event of a fire. Without devices like these in place, a fire on one side of a building could compromise the safety of individuals located on the other side of the facility, even when fire is not actually present. In fact, most fire-related deaths can actually be attributed to the inhalation of smoke and other dangerous gasses. It is the job of a Ruskin fire/smoke damper to prevent this by containing combustion gasses to the fire area so that they cannot be distributed throughout a building via HVAC systems. In addition, these devices can also help to prevent the spread of a fire by containing flames that might have otherwise spread through the building’s ductwork.
How do they work?
Ruskin dampers, can be activated in one of three ways. First, if a smoke detector that is located outside of a duct or transfer opening detects combustion particles in the air, the damper will automatically close, and will not open until the smoke detector has been re-set. A fire/smoke damper will also close when a rise in temperature is detected in a fire condition. Lastly, a combination smoke and fire damper will shut if a power failure occurs. Once power is restored, the damper will automatically re-set, or open.
Why are they so important?
As previously mentioned, fire and smoke dampers are a crucial aspect of life safety in the event of a fire. In larger structures, like high-rise office buildings, hospitals, and schools, the process of evacuating the building may take some time. In hospitals, for example, nurses may be required to assist numerous patients with limited or no mobility from the building, and a route of safe passage is needed. Fire rated walls are intended to slow the spread of fire throughout the structure, but without dampers in place, smoke could compromise safety corridors and take lives. And if smoke and combustion particles are able to freely pass through a building’s HVAC systems during the evacuation process, many people could be prevented from ever making it to the exit. To ensure the highest degree of life safety within your building, it is wise to employ Ruskin combination fire/smoke dampers and test them regularly for functionality.
How could Ruskin fire/smoke dampers improve safety in your facility?