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The Condenser: Containing the Blaze

They're not you're typical dampers. In this article, we discuss life safety dampers and their role in your building's passive fire protection system.

Containing the Blaze

Life safety dampers are not like your typical control dampers. They are part of your building’s passive fire protection system, or PFP for short. These dampers are designed to contain the spread of flames and noxious fumes during a fire by closing their blades at the first signs of fire. They can use a heat response device or a smoke detector to trigger closure, depending on the damper's type.

Life safety dampers are tested and rated to contain the spread of flames and noxious fumes.

Life safety dampers must complete a series of tests before they are approved for use. The Underwriters Laboratories (UL) sets the standards for these tests. When it passes, each damper receives a rating that signifies its capabilities as a life safety damper.

Ratings include leakage class, fire resistance rating, and fire duration rating. These ratings determine the effectiveness of the damper. They also dictate where the damper can be installed. For example, a damper rated for 1½ hour duration cannot be installed in a three-hour rated barrier. Know your requirements before selecting a life safety damper.

As part of a complete PFP, life safety dampers contain the hazards of fire to specific areas of the building. By containing the blaze, life safety dampers buy time for occupants to escape.

MCDLG & Continuing Education

Want to know more? MCDLG offers free self-paced courses on louvers, air control dampers, and life safety dampers.

Visit AEC Daily to browse our online courses

Our continuing education courses provide CE credits for a variety of institutions, including ASHRAE's PDUs. Learn the basics of control dampers and earn credit, at your own pace. Visit the MCDLG Campus Portal today!

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