See if your state follows suit as New Mexico raises the bar and requires NFPA-approved testing of smoke and fire dampers

by Brianna Crandall — March 29, 2019 — According to a release from SMART, the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan-Grisham signed legislation yesterday that will make New Mexico the first state in the nation to ensure that smoke and fire dampers and smoke control systems are properly tested and inspected in accordance with National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards.

The life-saving requirements under SB 143 will apply to public buildings, storage facilities and multifamily dwellings.

During an event such as a fire or other emergency that introduces pollutants into the air, HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) ductwork can act as a “freeway,” by circulating smoke and toxins throughout a structure, even to rooms far away from the flashpoint, explains SMART.

The successful operations of fire life-safety building systems could mean the difference between a nuisance fire and an out of control catastrophe. But smoke and fire dampers experience a failure rate of up to 60%, according to SMART. Most of them could be found, repaired and prevented by a proper hands-on inspection performed by ICB/TABB certified ANSI-accredited professionals.

In recent years, numerous localities and cities such as Cleveland, Pittsburgh and most recently Philadelphia have passed similar legislation. New Mexico becomes the first state to do so, points out SMART.

SMART General President Joseph Sellers, Jr., congratulated SMART Sheet Metal Local 49 leaders and members in New Mexico, by noting that “these new regulations will go a long way in ensuring the safety of New Mexico families. Local 49 has demonstrated its leadership in trailblazing a path forward for the sheet metal industry.”

Members of SMART, a dynamic and diverse unions with 216,000 members, are dedicated to ensuring the quality of the air we breathe, promoting energy efficiency, and producing and providing the vital services that move products to market and passengers to their destinations.

More information about SB 143 can be found on the New Mexico Legislature website.