Data centres and server rooms are the core of modern businesses’ information structure. Our unstoppable demand for online storage and bandwith caused by the growth in ecommerce and Cloud computing means that demand for data centres has never been higher.
To lose data through fire is devastating and the loss of data could result in lost earnings and a damaged reputation. Gone are the days of merely installing a smoke alarm and a few sprinkler heads if you want to ensure business continuity
Electricity is used to run a data centre which is an ignition source along with the combustible material found in the centre put people’s lives and business critical assets at risk. It is estimated that a third of all unplanned outages are caused by thermal issues.
In October 2016, a Ford Motor Company data centre in the US was shut down by an electrical fire. Fortunately, nobody was hurt but an entire plant employing 30,000 works was shut down for two days and publication of Ford’s October sales figures were postponed causing a dip in the company’s share price.
Causes of data centre fires are varied ranging from squirrels biting through wires (Yahoo, Santa Clara, 2012) to lightning strikes (Microsoft Dublin 2011). However, most fires are caused by overheating and electrical faults. To protect this business-critical infrastructure specialised fire systems and procedures are needed.
Which Fire Suppression System?
When building a data centre it is crucial that adequate and appropriate fire protection and extinguishant systems are included in the design right from the start. Many data centres will use an addressable fire system for overall detection and alarm with a dedicated or integrated extinguishant release system alongside. There is no standard fire solution but specifiers and users need to understand the benefits and disadvantages of the solutions available.
Automatic fire suppression systems can provide optimal protection for sensitive electronic equipment – with specially designed nozzles not impacting on computer hard disk drives and people safe, environmentally friendly extinguishing agents. Using the wrong fire safety system might lead to a higher financial damage than a fire itself can cause.
Firetrace offer a solution that is ideal for data centres. Our electrical fire suppression systems can easily be fitted to server racks. They do not need complex electronic detectors or panels and operate by simply using pneumatics. Our unique patented linear detection tubing is installed throughout panels and cableways and can quickly and accurately detect a fire. It also suppresses it before it can damage adjacent components. There is no need for separate power supplies or battery back-ups.
Firetrace’s solution meets LPCB standard LPS1666 which applies to direct low pressure application fixed fire suppression systems, using heat sensitive pneumatic tubing, designed for the protection of small unoccupied defined volume enclosures such as electrical switchgear cabinets, server racking and similar installations from small local flaming fire sources.
Click here further information on Firetrace’s electrical fire suppression systems.