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Data Centers & Mission Critical Facilities

Fire protection for data centers and mission critical facilities is complex. Reliability and business continuity are quite important. Whatever fire suppression and detection systems are selected, their operation must not cause excessive collateral damage if activated. In addition, personnel working in data centers must be aware of the sensitive nature of computer servers and associated electrical equipment. Fireline’s technicians have been specially trained to work in the demanding environment of mission critical facilities.

Data centers may have power densities of 400 watts per square foot or above. This generates a great deal of heat, which is cooled with extremely high air flows. Fire detection and suppression systems must be able to reliably operate in such extreme conditions. For this, and many other reasons, the informed selection of fire suppression and detection is critical.

Fire protection goals must include considerations for life safety, property protection and business continuity. Life safety systems are mandated by local codes and standards and are not optional. However, basic compliance with life safety codes may not provide adequate property or business continuity protection. Here are some of the most effective ways to protect data centers and mission critical facilities.

  • Addressable, spot-type smoke detectors. This is the most common form of smoke detection in data centers. Intelligent, addressable detectors are reliable and minimize false alarms.
  • Early warning air sampling smoke detection. Fireline is an enthusiastic proponent of this type of system, known as VESDA (Very Early Smoke Detection Apparatus). VESDA works by continuously drawing air into a distributed pipe network via a high-efficiency aspirator. The air sample then passes through a dual-stage filter before it enters the laser detection chamber. It can be programmed so that smoke can be detected almost before it is visible to the naked eye, far faster than spot smoke detection.
  • Pre-action Sprinkler Systems. Pre-action fire sprinkler systems are like a dry-pipe sprinkler systems. In a pre-action system, the water is held back by a pre-action valve so that the piping network is dry during normal operations. The valve is opened when smoke and heat are detected, and water is discharged on the fire. A pre-action system guards against a potentially disastrous water leak and subsequent damage.
  • Clean agent suppression systems. These are gaseous suppression agents that do not cause any collateral damage to equipment or personnel in the event of a discharge. They are controlled by a smoke detection system. The most common agents are FM200 and NOVEC 1230.
  • Water mist and Hybrid Water Mist. Water mist systems work by atomizing water so that very fine water spray suppress or extinguish a fire by cooling of the flame. The evaporation of water during the process also displaces oxygen, further helping suppression. Both types of systems are extremely efficient in extinguishing fires. Water mist systems discharge between 70%-90% less water than traditional sprinkler systems and are “three dimensional”. This means the cooling effect of the fog can penetrate obstructions that traditional sprinklers cannot.

Solutions for Data Centers and Mission Critical Facilities

Fire protection for data centers and mission critical facilities are complex. Fireline has the experience and knowledge to provide solutions for these facilities.

For more information on how we can help your facility, please contact Fireline at (800) 553-3405. For more fire safety tips, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.