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Data Center Fire Prevention Tips

Posted on: July 14, 2016

As the owner and operator of a data center, you know that this room is the nerve center of your organization. If something happens to the valuable electronic components in this room, your business could go down for days or even weeks during the recovery process. Follow these tips to prevent fire whenever possible and fight any flames that break out as quickly and effectively as possible.

Date Center Fire Prevention

You have a huge impact on how fire-safe your data center is. Make sure your system is designed properly and that your employees follow certain rules to stop a potential fire before it starts.

Handle flammable materials carefully

It’s easy to forget about the volatility of flammable materials in your data center, but everything from cardboard boxes to plastic to Styrofoam packaging materials could quickly allow a fire to spread if one starts.

To prevent this, dedicate a separate room for removing equipment from boxes before they’re transported to the data center. Uphold a strict “no flammable materials in the data center” policy to reduce the spread of a potential fire.

Consider designing multiple power rooms

Your data center can’t perform without a power room, which contains multiple buses to act as a system failsafe. The problem that is water can shut down an entire power room, and the presence of smoke requires the room—and therefore the entire data center—to shut down for safety reasons.

By installing each bus in its own room (along with its own emergency power off switch), your data center can continue to function, even if a fire starts in one power room. This design is uncommon, but as more sophisticated computer equipment enters the market, it becomes increasingly beneficial.

Maintain climate control equipment

A hard-working air conditioner generates a lot of heat. Cooling equipment can also develop gas leaks that could confuse the fire detection system. Regular maintenance is important to prevent either of these possibilities from becoming a problem.

Then, if you ever add more cooling equipment or reconfigure the room, you must keep up with these changes. New room partitions may require different vent placement, and larger or relocated vents can affect how fire suppression systems discharge. Make sure every aspect of the climate control system and fire suppression equipment work together harmoniously.

Create a fire-safety plan with your local fire department

Since your data center has special fire suppression needs, it’s wise to bring this up with your local fire department. The more they know about your building and data center, the less likely it is that fire fighters will enter your building with hoses drawn. Therefore, your equipment will be less likely to needlessly suffer water damage.

Data Center Fire Protection

The biggest difference between prevention and protection is that, while prevention focuses on stopping fires in the first place, protection aims to put out fires quickly. Fire code compliance requires your data center to have a properly designed and installed fire protection system. This is also a wise investment since the proper system can allow your business to get back up and running within hours, not days.

Install fire protection equipment

Every data center fire protection system should include:

  • A fire detection system capable of distinguishing between a gas leak in the cooling system and the smoke from a fire.
  • A fire alarm with strobe lights and sirens to alert everyone of the need to evacuate the building.
  • Portable fire extinguishers installed in the proper locations to help server engineers to escape if an exit is blocked by fire.
  • An emergency power-off switch to shut off all electrical devices with the push of a button.
  • An emergency suppression system delay or cancel switch in case the system detects a false alarm.
  • A clean agent fire suppression system, such as an FM-200 system or a Novec 1230 system, that won’t damage the electronic equipment in your data center.

Maintain fire protection equipment

It’s not enough to install and then forget about fire-fighting systems in your data center. Follow the recommended schedule to test and maintain the equipment to ensure everything functions properly in case you need it.

Learn about our server and data room fire protection services »

Install Fire Protection for Your Mid-South Data Center

The simple fact is, no matter how careful you are, there’s still a chance a fire could break out in your data center. If this happens, your fire protection system kicks into gear. You might not be sure what type of specialty fire extinguishers and other built-in suppression systems you need. With the help of a knowledgeable professional, you can select the proper suppression agent and enjoy the peace of mind that comes from having an ideal system design.

For fire protection system design, installation, maintenance and testing, trust State Systems, Inc. to meet all your data center fire protection needs. Contact us today to utilize our services for your Mid-South business.

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