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The Importance of Fire Suppression In Your Server Room or NOC

No one wants to think about a fire starting in their server room or network operations centre. Fire is both destructive and expensive, it can quickly and irreparably damage your servers and the data they contain. At the same time, we all know that fires do happen, and with today’s smaller form factor components having fewer fans for cooling means that fires are more likely to start due to heat stress on components.

Factors You Must Consider When Choosing A Fire Suppression System

When you are choosing a fire suppression system for your server room, data centre or NOC (network operations centre), you must consider many factors. You must decide on the cost, ease of access and use, hazard potential and quality of equipment. You must also make sure that the quality of equipment is good but cheap.

Good quality but low cost equipment is very important for a dependable fire control system. So in order to correctly choose the most suitable fire suppression system for your property you must know the following:

– The size of your building/room

– The location of your building/room

– The type of construction materials used for walls, floors and ceilings

– If there are any hazardous materials in use near your server room/data centre/NOC (network operations centre)

– If there is any possibility of an electrical fault occurring near your server room/data centre/NOC (network operations centre)

How To Recognise & Control The Different Types Of Fires

You can’t control or eradicate fire unless you know what kind it is. There are four classes of fire:

Class A: Fires with trash, wood, paper or other combustible materials as the fuel source.

Class B: Fires with flammable or combustible liquids as the fuel source.

Class C: Fires involving electrical equipment.

Class D: Fires with certain ignitable metals as a fuel source.

Also read: “Knowing your fire classes and extinguishers”

The Best Fire Suppression Methods You Can Use.

1. Water based fire suppression systems

As strange as it seems water-based fire suppression systems are often the most effective way to protect valuable data and equipment in a data centre. Even though they may seem like a risky choice because water can cause as much damage as fire, there are a couple of different types of water-based systems that can be used in data centres.

Wet pipe/charged sprinklers and pre-action sprinklers are both types of water-based fire suppression systems.

A wet pipe system is always filled with water and ready to deploy. The sprinkler heads are fitted with metal fusible links that keep the water in the pipe until excessive temperature causes them to melt and open the path for water to flow. The specific temperature at which the links melt is dictated by code.

The main risk of this type of system is that if it malfunctions, there is nothing standing between the electronics and a flood of water. This type of malfunction is most often caused unknowingly by contractors bumping the sprinkler heads with ladders and physically knocking the fusible links loose.

Are you worried about water damage to your data centre?

Pre-action sprinklers are a great way to protect against fire suppression system failures. They’re designed with built-in fail-safes that put a buffer between the equipment and the water.

For example, single-lock pre-action systems are triggered by a fire or smoke alarm. When the alarm sounds, water is released into the system, at which point it acts like a charged sprinkler system would. If a sprinkler fails or breaks, no water will be released without the pre-action of the fire alarm.

Double-lock systems go one step further, requiring both smoke detector trigger as well as a second point of fire detection before water is released into the pipes. These types of systems can also be restricted by quadrant, so only the area where a fire occurs will get wet.

Although pre-action systems provide a level of protection against accidental water damage, they do require periodic testing, which comes with its own set of risks. To test a pre-action system, the pipes must be filled with water and then drained – often while blowing compressed air through them to remove any remaining moisture trapped inside by accident (which could corrode fittings over time). This means there’s always

Water mist fire suppression systems are especially popular in data centres because they use less water than sprinkler systems. A water mist system uses a high-powered, very fine water mist that behaves similarly to clean agent suppressors, but with the added benefit of being able to use less water than a sprinkler system. This is one reason why so many data centres have been turning to water mist systems: they can save money on utilities and costs related to damage caused by flooding.

The only downside is that this type of fire suppression system requires high pressure to disperse—usually provided by stored nitrogen or a positive displacement pump for the water mist system to work properly.

2. Gaseous Fire Suppression Systems

When it comes to fire suppression systems in data centres, you want a system that is quick and efficient. Gaseous fire suppression uses clean agent gas, inert gas or chemicals to extinguish fires quickly and efficiently. The most common gaseous fire suppression agents used today are Ansul INERGEN, a clean agent that combines three inert gases: nitrogen, argon and carbon dioxide; FM-200; and Novec 1230.

Unlike water, these agents won’t damage data centre electronics, are electrically nonconductive and actuate quickly to minimise and isolate damage. Clean agent systems using HFC-227ea and FK-5-1-12 are considered safer for people and the environment than some other options. These systems can be used to protect occupied spaces, though you will need to install a notification system to give people time to leave the area before the system deploys. Fire suppression systems that use carbon dioxide to replace oxygen can not be used around people, due to the risk of suffocation. Facilities using these systems must be thoroughly ventilated before they can be inspected after a fire.

Gas-based fire suppression systems are commonly used in modular data center environments because they are easy to use, don’t require much space, and are low cost.

Inert gas systems have a pretty big footprint compared to Novec systems. A large quantity of inert gas is needed to replace enough oxygen to extinguish a fire. Novec, on the other hand, is stored as a liquified compressed gas, which requires a much smaller storage area. 

So depending on the size of the facility you are protecting, and the amount of space available, storing a sufficient number of gas cylinders, versus Novec cylinders, might factor into your decision-making.

When choosing a fire suppression system for your data centre, you must consider employee safety, protecting valuable equipment and preventing downtime. To make sure your system fully meets your needs, you need to know what insurance requirements you have and which codes and standards are required by local building districts.

If you are considering installing a fire suppression system in your data centre, it’s important to know what you’re getting into.

Firstly, you need to know that there are two types of fire suppression systems: gaseous and dry. Gaseous systems work by using inert gas to suppress the fire, while dry systems use water or foam to put out the flames.

Secondly, you need to be familiar with your emergency equipment in case there is an emergency. The emergency equipment includes lock out/abort switches and manual pull stations. A lockout/abort switch will immobilize the system with a key to avoid accidental discharge of the equipment. A manual pull station can give immediate response for starting fires without needing the system to detect smoke first.

However, a good fire suppression company will have already considered these factors for you and will map out a cost effective plan, with the most suitable equipment in accordance with the size of your room and  your business particular characteristics, which they will design the piping, system space and weight needed to carry out the plan for your new fire suppression system installation.

Need to contact a good fire suppression company with all the answers? Give us a call or visit our website..

Dedicated to Your Fire Safety 

Alex

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