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Fire Safety

Fire Suppression System for Data Centers and Server Racks

 

Fire is a dangerous man-made disaster that can kill many lives and incurred a great loss of property. We cannot even imagine the loss that a fire can cause because fire can ruin a well-established business and home within seconds. We can never be able to remove the causes of fire entirely but we can adopt some preventive measures to control the fire to minimize the losses. And for a preventive approach, a fire suppression system comes into the picture.

A fire suppression system involves a fire extinguisher, water sprinklers that help in restricting the spread of the fire. Fire suppression also helps in holding and controlling the fire. A fire suppression system is essential for data centers and server packs. As fire can occur within the digital equipment, cables, HVAC equipment, wires, raised floors, suspended ceiling, and other combustible things found in data centers. So data centers and server packs require three levels of fire protection and suppression systems.

The three-level protection that a data center requires:

  1. Building level fire protection: 

The first level of fire protection is to protect the employees and building from fire. Water sprinklers and handheld extinguishers are key components of fire protection and suppression systems. Installing a fire extinguisher from a well-known fire extinguisher distributor on every floor and training the employees about how to use the fire extinguisher and what escape route to follow when a fire breaks out helps to save many lives. Some passive fire protection that includes firewalls and fire-rated floor assemblies can restrict the fire to spread and hence can easily be controlled and extinguished.

  1. Room level fire protection: 

Now it is time to protect the data center room from the fire. It can only be possible through a suitable fire alarm detection system. There must be smoke detectors and a Palladium zone 32 fire alarm system installed so that they can warn when the fire is in its initial stage and appropriate steps can be adopted to save the data center. Installing water sprinklers also helps in extinguishing small fires but the water can cause as much damage to servers and hard drives as fire can so it is advisable to always go for gas sprinklers.

This gaseous system can be an inert gas or clean agent gas. An inert gas is the mixture of nitrogen and argon gases as they help in decreasing oxygen levels in the room thus put the fire to an end. But special design nozzles are required to muffle the powerful sound given off when the inert system activates. 

Clean agent gases are electrically non-corrosive, non-conductive, and leave no residue upon evaporation. This makes them the ideal fire suppression agents in data centers. Just like the water system this system works. These systems are known as total flood or engineered systems.

  1. Rack Level Fire Protection

The last level is to protect specific equipment. Some equipment is valued at more than 50% of the cost of the room so it creates the special need to protect the equipment at the rack level to save money and investment. So to protect them from any damage, special fast sensors are being installed near to the equipment so that if any unusual situation rises then it detects within seconds and suppresses it before the total flood system activates. So this helps to prevent the damage caused by fire and water.

 

 

 

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