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Fires in the Data Center: What Can You Do to Prevent Them?

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Did you know that according to the Federal Communications Commission, data center downtime can cost upwards of $2 million per hour? Of all the threats faced by data centers, one of the biggest that can cause exorbitantly expensive downtime is a fire.

Here’s how commercial fire protection services can help your company minimize the risk, and keep your data center safe.

VESDA (Very Early Warning Smoke Detection) provides the earliest possible warning of a potential fire, and are a necessary part of any data center fire suppression system. The new National Fire Protection Association 75 and 76 codes state that facilities with telecommunication equipment in an area above 2,500 square feet — like data centers — need to have very early warning fire detection systems. Rooms that are below 2,500 square feet — such as small data centers — need to have at least an early warning fire detection system, which is not quite as powerful as a very early warning system. The point of these codes is to establish the minimum requirements for the protection of IT equipment from damage by fire and its associated effects, such as damage from smoke, heat, and water.

Clean Agent Suppression
In addition to a warning system, data centers also need to have a way to suppress a fire should one arise. The trouble is that typical sprinkler systems will ruin IT equipment just as much as fire and smoke will. Fortunately, commercial fire protection services can outfit data centers with a clean agent fire suppression system. The National Fire Protection Association defines a “clean agent” as “electrically nonconductive, volatile, or gaseous fire extinguishant that does not leave a residue upon evaporation.” In other words, it can safely put out a fire, without pouring water all over the equipment.

If you’d like to know more about either of these two amazing fire protection products, feel free to share your questions in the comments.







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