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Fire Suppression in Data Centers: Threats & Challenges
Organisations spend a significant amount of money protecting data centers from the risk of downtime through installing emergency generators, reliable uninterrupted power supply systems and quality air conditioning systems. However, all these efforts are absolutely null and void if a company’s entire data center erupts in flames.
Fire prevention tactics are essential, but so are fire suppression systems. In the unfortunate case that a fire should occur, personnel should be safe and equipment should suffer as little damage as possible.
A fire protection strategy needs to weigh out all possible fire threats effectively. For example:
Most fires start as a result of the power distribution equipment both inside the IT room and outside the battery/ power room. Less often, fires are as a result of human error, foreign objects in the data center or even arson.
Data center equipment is extremely valuable, as is the information stored on the equipment, therefore,it needs to be protected adequately. Data centers come with a unique set of challenges. Firstly, many of the data centers use raised floors for communication cabling, concealing power, etc. As the area below the raised floor contains combustible material, if a fire occurs in that space, it is extremely difficult to access.
Another challenge faced when installing fire detection and suppression systems is aisle containment. This needs to be considered early in the design. If considerations aren’t taken into account for aisle containment partitions, sprinklers and clean agent systems may fail to work efficiently.
Electrical cable trays and bus detection cables should be easily located so that sprinklers and clean agent nozzles can be placed in the proper areas. If this is not properly coordinated, the fire system performance may be compromised.
Smoke detectors are essential for detecting and locating a fire. When it comes to installing smoke detectors, they should be installed along air circulation paths. If the air paths do not flow towards the alarm, the system may not pick up in time that there are any signs of smoke.
Fire Protection Advice and Assistance
There are many more challenges faced when installing or upgrading a fire prevention and suppression system for a data centre. Make sure you contact professional fire safety consultants for effective fire protection strategies.