Data center managers and employees should not overlook the necessity of following recommended fire protection standards. Fires can suddenly strike within digital equipment, wires, cables, HVAC equipment, raised floors, suspended ceilings, and other combustibles found in data centers.
Therefore, information technology professionals should focus on complying with NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) 75 and 76 standards, which ensure that appropriate fire protection measures and equipment are in place.
Protecting Your Data Center
NFPA 75 is the standard for the fire protection of information technology equipment. These newly revised standards are currently guidelines, not laws, but data centers seeking to protect their equipment from a potential fire would be wise to follow NFPA 75.
The standards designated by NFPA 75 include the requirement that fire protection sprinklers cover all areas of contained aisles to lower the risk of fire. NFPA 75 also includes basic standards like establishing an escape plan in the event of a fire. It also recommends that data centers check equipment to ensure that it is flame resistant and that data centers have functioning smoke detection systems.
Similarly, NFPA 76 sets standards for fire protection of telecommunication companies that provide telephone, data, internet transmission, wireless, and video services to the public.
Three Required Levels of Fire Protection
Three levels of fire protection are required to protect data centers, workers, and equipment. The first is building-level fire protection, which protects workers and the building itself. Fire sprinklers and handheld extinguishers are the most common types of building-level fire protection.
The second required level of fire protection is room-level fire protection. Common room level fire protection measures are pre-action systems and wet pipe sprinkler systems. As well, gas systems use inert and clean agent gas to extinguish fires without damaging data centers as water sprinkler systems do.
The third required level of fire protection to protect data centers is rack-level fire protection, which is concerned with protecting specific equipment and limiting damage. The most common fire protection measure at room level is implementing pre-engineered automatic fire suppression systems. These systems quickly detect fires and suppress them before water sprinkler systems activate and potentially destroy any sensitive equipment.
Learn more about our fire sprinkler systems and other fire prevention solutions for your data center. Contact Total Fire Protection by calling (718) 785-8297.