Air Trade Centre publication about Fire Safety in Rehva journal
Fire safety is a ‘hot item’ in any European country and beyond.
UNSAFE AND EXPENSIVE
In our market we see a lot of installations that comply to every existing rule. However in too many cases the built installations are not safe, and in the middle long run more expensive.
In air handling installations fire dampers are used where the duct work crosses walls of fire compartments. Whenever a fire is detected, the fire damper will shut off the duct work, thereby stopping smoke and heat to accelerate spread throughout the building by the help of the air handling installation. Victims of fire accidents are in almost any case caused by smoke asphyxiation, not by heat of the fire.
Imagine you have a family member in the hospital. You know he or she is dependent of the help of others, because he or she is temporarily not able to leave the hospital bed. In case of any calamity the large majority of hospital patients are dependent of the help of the hospital staff. Imagine, in this hospital, a fire starts anywhere in the building. Smoke starts to spread throughout the building because of the air handling system. Only after 30 minutes the fire dampers start to shut off the ducting system, because they sense a temperature of 72°C or higher. You can imagine in these 30 minutes before the fire dampers do their work, a lot of smoke will have spread, and could have endangered any patient, including you family member…!
This horror scenario can sadly become a true cover story because this is how a lot of installations work. Why? Because the cheapest fire damper is a fire damper without servo motor and smoke detection, which only reacts to high temperatures, not to smoke simply because it does not detect smoke.
Law forces us to check every fire damper regularly. This means a high maintenance cost for this product, because every damper has to be looked up (above the false ceiling) and than has to be manually shut and opened. With everytime the nuisance for the people working or living in the building.
A fire damper with servo motor and smoke detector is indeed more expensive when you initially buy it. But there is a big ‘but’.
MORE DISTINCTIVE FIRE DAMPER WITH LOWER COST OF OWNERSHIP
This may sound as a contradiction, now knowing that a really safe fire damper is more expensive to buy. But when we take into account the total cost of ownership of any type of building, we see that the higher investment in really safe fire dampers returns itself within two years or quicker. This is caused by the fact that every fire damper has to be checked for its good functioning regularly. In a hospital or office building, you usually see a large number of fire dampers, for example 100 fire dampers. Always a number of these dampers is ‘hidden’ somewhere in the building, not reachable for checking. But even if you can reach all of the fire dampers, it is obvious that it takes a lot of hours when you check all dampers each month or every three months.
Dampers with servo motor can easily be connected to the Building Management System. Doing so, checking of the dampers is done in a few minutes, behind the computer of the Building Management System… Would there be a fire damper that closes, you immediately are informed by the same GBS. This way you save the hours needed for manually checking throughout the building. It is proven that the higher investment of the safest dampers has a return of months, not years!
‘Good advice is expensive’ people say. We are more than happy to give you this article for free. Air Trade Centre offers you the expertise to advise the correct product with the right certificate for any given situation. Feel free to visit us at www.airtradecentre.com, where you can get to know us better, and where you can find your contact in any ‘Air Trade Centre country in Europe’ you wish.