How to Maintain Fire Barriers
To maintain code compliance, fire barriers must be in check. The leading deficiencies include issues specific to ducts, fire doors, and barrier penetrations. Keeping fire doors up to date can be challenging. However, to guarantee that there are no penetrations in a fire barrier, you must maintain compliance. Fortunately, you can maintain a barrier against fire and avoid possible citations by following a few simple steps.
To maintain fire barriers, good planning is essential. This is best accomplished by tracking the frequency of past inspections and scheduling future inspections. One option involves setting up a maintenance program or plan for every element of the facility’s fire protection system.
Because open penetrations in a barrier are never acceptable, doors should be inspected annually. However, to be on the safe side, you should keep a watchful eye on any fire barrier throughout the year. If you do not have adequate time to handle an inspection on your own, you can always outsource the task to an experienced contractor. This way, you have assurance that the inspection is done on time and correctly.
Understand What Is Expected
When it comes to being compliant with current fire codes, you must know what to expect. If you do not understand how to maintain a fire barrier properly, take the time to conduct research. According to the National Fire Protection Association code, an annual inspection of all fire doors is mandated. In addition, any repairs should be completed quickly.
The NFPA code also requires any penetrations present in fire-rated barriers to be fire-stopped immediately. The NFPA code details precisely what must be inspected, as well as the frequency of inspections and requirements for documentation. However, if you lack the time or resources to handle the inspection of fire barriers on your own, consider hiring a reputable contractor.
For all inspections, deficiencies, and repairs, proper documentation is vital for maintaining compliance. The documentation should be up to date, detailed, and organized. If you hire an outside contractor for the inspection and/or repairs, make sure that individual provides you with the required documentation, which should be kept in a secure place. To keep smoke compartmentalized and safely assist occupants during an evacuation, fire barriers, including fire doors, fire walls, and fire dampers, must work in conjunction with one another.