Organizations operate on the premise of protecting data centers from the risk of downtime. The risk of fire in data centers is great enough for data center facilities management to constantly seek the cost effective way to suppress a fire while causing minimal damage to equipment and infrastructure. Generally, these fire detection and suppression systems account for the challenges posed by high airflow and high power densities as a result of the equipment infrastructure.
Because fire protection for the modern data center is complex, Facilities Net has put together A Comprehensive Approach to Data Center Fire Safety to break down the fire suppression systems, fire protection and fire detection options for data centers.
Fire protection systems in data centers generally include wet pipe sprinklers, pre-action sprinklers, and special suppression systems. In order to choose a non-water based protection system, clean agent and inert gas systems were developed.
There are two effective Halon alternatives for data center fire suppression: clean agent systems and inert gases. If deployed correctly, the electronic equipment will not be destroyed by either system by fire or water damage.
Clean agent systems extinguish fires by removing heat from them. Each clean agent is stored as a liquid at room temperature until gasified by delivery nozzles. The gases replace air to take the heat out of the fire. These systems are also safe for employees, meaning it can go off while people are still in the room.
Inert gas systems suffocate the fire by removing oxygen. Once sensors within the data center determine the threat of a fire, gases are released in order to immediately lower the amount of oxygen; however, because inert gas systems require a higher concentration of gas to extinguish a fire, this system requires significantly more storage space.
When designing or updating a data center, it is best to consult a fire suppression expert with extensive knowledge on local, state and national fire codes and regulations. Contact Koorsen today for more information about protecting your data center from the destruction of fire.