Fire Damper Testing
by Brad Keyes, CHSP, on Dec 16, 2020 12:00:45 AM
Q: NFPA 80-2010, section 184.108.40.206 indicates the required testing and inspection of fire dampers to be 1-year after installation, afterwards the inspection frequency to be 4-years, except in hospitals it shall be 6-years. If the hospital contains areas that are classified business occupancies do fire dampers in these areas need to be inspected every 4-years? If the fire damper is in an occupancy separation do you go with the hospital interval or the business interval? If the hospital is a series of buildings connected together does the whole facility count as a hospital or are the buildings treated separately?
A: A hospital is a building with many different occupancies in it. This is why NFPA 80 did not say “healthcare occupancies” but rather “hospitals”. If the business occupancy is located inside the hospital, then the fire dampers are tested every 6 years, not every 4 years, because it is located inside a hospital.
But a business occupancy that is free-standing and is not physically connected to the hospital (or is separated by a 2-hour fire-rated barrier), then the fire dampers must be tested every 4 years. The reason for this is in a hospital, there is adequate maintenance staff and resources to ensure the fire dampers are maintained. However, in a free-standing business occupancy, there is less staff and less resources to ensure this is accomplished.