What are fire dampers and why do they need testing?

Fire Ventilation damper system

Fire dampers are louvre-like devices installed where ventilation ductwork crosses a fire-resistant wall, door or curtain. In normal conditions the dampers remain open to allow airflow, but automatically close on the detection of heat or smoke. They are designed to impede the spread of fire, buying invaluable time to evacuate the building.

Effective fire dampers save lives and must be tested by a competent person after they have been installed and at regular intervals using a method known as ‘drop testing’. Previously, under BS:9999 2008, fire dampers were categorised according to their type; a small number needed to be drop tested only every two years; now all fire dampers must be drop tested and cleaned annually.

The big problem is that many buildings have no records of where fire dampers were originally installed, so the building owner or manager is given no clear idea of how many, or where dampers have been installed. To add to that confusion buildings are often altered over several years which, can unwittingly obstruct access to the dampers. Hence fire damper maintenance often falls into non-compliance.

The Meritas Fire and Security Damper Service:

  • Conduct detailed site survey to identify and locate each fire damper

  • Modify any inaccessible hatches and remove obstructions

  • Carry out fire damper testing, cleaning, fire damper drop test and reset each fire damper

  • Identify any problems and recommend remedial action

  • Carry out remedial work as necessary

  • Certify testing - provide accurate records of fire damper drop testing and cleaning, including before and after photographs of cleaning

Why use Meritas?

At Meritas Fire and Security Protection Ltd we have unmatched experience and expertise in working with owners and FM managers to provide fire damper maintenance and ensure their buildings achieve compliance.

We have the necessary experience and expertise to overcome any obstacles in gaining access to the fire dampers and we will work out of hours and flexibly around the client to ensure their business is not


Download our digital white paper - ‘What FM Managers need to know about Fire Dampers’

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“Meritas have got to know our site in detail and have been able to flag other areas of potential risk, for which we are very grateful. Their customer service is proactive and attentive”
— FM client

For fire damper testing, contact the experts