Fire is one of the most common and expensive catastrophes that a business could experience. In the year 2013, there were 118,000 fires reported in commercial buildings. In the hotel industry alone, fires result in $76 million in property damage every year.
The area most vulnerable to fires in a business is the data center. The massive amount of power and extremely flammable equipment held in a data center create a significant fire hazard. On top of that, the most commonly used fire suppression methods, sprinkle systems, are just as damaging to a data center as the fire itself.
To make matters worse, a data center is among the most critical assets in a business. Every minute that a data center is down costs a business $7,900. If the data center is destroyed altogether by a fire, the damage to the business could be debilitating. To prevent this level of catastrophe in your business, we’ve listed 3 steps for creating a good data center fire protection plan.
- Get a Risk Assessment From a Fire Protection Company
Some of the greatest fire risks stem of conditions that an untrained person wouldn’t notice. Bringing in a fire protection specialist is a good way to ensure any big risks are mitigated and solutions are developed to minimize unavoidable risks. A fire protection professional would also help you develop the most ideal fire protection plan within your financial and logistical stipulations.
- Invest in a Good Fire Detection System
In the unfortunate case of a fire in your data center, your best chance of minimizing damage is obviously to extinguish it immediately. If your fire detecting system is not functioning properly, the entire structure could be destroyed before it is noticed. The best data center fire suppression services provide both early fire detection and regular maintenance on the alarms. Most fire prevention experts say fire alarms need to be checked every 6 months and replaced every 10 years, but more often in volatile areas like a data center.
- Understand Your Fire Suppression System
While the most common fire suppression systems involve sprinkler systems going off if they reach a temperature that indicates a fire, this is not helpful for data center protection because the sprinklers don’t go off until they reach temperature that is already damaging to temperature-sensitive equipment. More importantly, water-based fire suppression systems are just a damaging to technical equipment as fire.
Many data center fire suppression services use a gas called halon to suppress fires. While halon is successful at extinguishing fires without harming equipment, it is very bad for the environment and dangerous for humans. For this reason, it’s a good idea to hire a data center fire suppression service that uses clean agent fire suppression.
When a clean agent gas is released, it “floods” the room and brings the concentration of CO2 in the room to below 20%, which is the level needed for open flames to continue burning. A clean agent gas is also neutral to the environment and safe for human inhalation.
Do you use a data center fire suppression service? What tips would you share to companies looking to hire one? Leave us a comment with the details.