You’ll see a fair amount of coverage about natural disasters that can disrupt power and generally wreak havoc on a data center. But we don’t write all that much about another very real threat to data centers: fire. In addition to providing practical prevention advice, the College of Data Centers Schneider Electric™ Energy University course, “Examining Fire Protection Methods,” highlights the lasting damaging effects of fire through information and statistics. For example, 43% of businesses that close due to fire never reopen and the 29% that reopen after fire damage fail within 3 years.
Schneider Electric solutions such as the TAC Vista building management system can help protect people and assets from fire. But developing fire prevention strategies is a critical step to minimize your losses. Since fires can spark from any flammable material and grow at a rapid rate, safeguards are also essential to protect your data center or home network, and more importantly, lives.
An ounce of prevention
Certain elements can breed fires, including heat interacting with unexpected fuel sources like servers, cabling, and even trash cans. The following prevention suggestions can help minimize these types of fire hazards in data centers :
- 1. Enforce a strict no smoking policy
- 2. Remove all trash receptacles
- 3. Use metal office furniture (seat cushions are allowed)
- 4. Eliminate/ acoustical or fabric materials used to absorb sound
- 5. Locate equipment away from fire-prone areas
Safeguards offer additional protection In terms of safeguards, there are three main options for fire detection: smoke, heat, and flame detectors. For data centers, smoke detectors like the Schneider Electric ClimaSys CC are the most effective in providing authorities and building occupants with the earliest warning of a fire. But you may be surprised to learn, however, about the various types of smoke alarms you have to choose from.
“Intelligent spot type detectors” use laser beams to distinguish between smoke and dust. They are useful in large enterprises and unmanned data centers because they send data to a central control system. Air sampling or very early smoke detection (VESD) systems also use lasers and they work by continually comparing air samples that they draw in.