Preventing Data Center Fires

Even small data center fires can cause significant downtime and data loss for your business. To prevent this, you can ensure proper fire prevention techniques and equipment are in place. If you design your system carefully and enforce safety protocols among employees, you significantly reduce the risk of data center fires. While the risk of a fire is small, the consequences can be extreme, making following fire protection best practices crucial for safeguarding your data center.

<H3> Causes of Data Center Fires

  • Overheating Equipment
  • Inadequate Maintenance
  • Human Error
  • Electrical Failures

<H2> Data Center Fire Prevention

Preventing data center fires starts with making sure the area is free of elements that could start a fire in the first place. Key strategies for preventing data center fires include focusing on handling flammable materials, maintaining cleanliness and organization, and ensuring the proper maintenance of climate control equipment. By implementing these proactive measures, data center operators can minimize the risk of fires and protect their valuable assets and operations.

<H3> Handle Flammable Materials Carefully

To prevent data center fires, strictly enforce a policy prohibiting flammable materials like cardboard, plastic, and Styrofoam packaging. Ensure all equipment is unpacked in a separate room before entering the data center. This proactive measure isolates potential fire sources and facilitates swift extinguishment. By maintaining a clear data center free of flammable items, you mitigate the risk of fire spreading and safeguard your operations.

<H3> Keep the Room Clean and Organized

Make sure your data center is clear of any clutter or unnecessary items. Fires can spread rapidly, leaving little time for people to escape. You’ll also want to make sure your computers are clean of any dust buildup or debris. Dust is extremely flammable and it could be the reason that a fire spreads in your data center.

<H3> Maintain Climate Control Equipment

To help prevent data center fires, make sure to stay on top of maintenance, especially for your cooling equipment. Those hard-working air conditioners can crank out a lot of heat and might even spring a leak now and then, triggering false alarms with your fire detection system. And if you’re making changes to your setup, like adding more AC units or rearranging things, pay attention. Those tweaks could mean moving vents around or changing up how your fire suppression system works. Just make sure everything in your climate control and fire suppression systems plays nicely together to keep your data center fire-free.

<H2> Data Center Fire Protection

The biggest difference between prevention and protection is that, while prevention focuses on stopping fires in the first place, protection aims to put out fires quickly. Fire code compliance requires your data center to have a properly designed and installed fire protection system. This is also a wise investment since the proper system can allow your business to get back up and running within hours, not days.

<H3> Install Fire Protection Equipment

Every data center fire protection system should include:

  • A fire detection system capable of distinguishing between a gas leak and smoke
  • A fire alarm with strobe lights and sirens 
  • Portable fire extinguishers installed in the proper locations
  • An emergency power-off switch

<H4> Firetrace Systems for Data Center Fire Protection 

Firetrace systems are specially designed for small enclosures and areas at higher risk of a fire like data centers, server rooms, electrical cabinets, machinery, commercial kitchens, and other small areas.

<H4> Water Mist Fire Suppression Systems for Data Center Fire Protection 

Water mist fire suppression systems dispense a very fine water mist at high velocity, which controls, suppresses, and extinguishes fires. Benefits of this system include minimal water damage, no toxic residue, immediate activation, and no costly cleanup or equipment replacement. Examples of water mist fire suppression systems are Victaulic Vortex™, Marioff HI-FOG®, Fike Micromist®, and Tyco AquaMist.

<H3> Maintain Fire Protection Equipment

It’s not enough to install and then forget about fire-fighting systems in your data center. Follow the recommended schedule to test and maintain the equipment to ensure everything functions properly in case you need it.

<H3> Schedule Regular Inspections

You should schedule regular inspections of your fire protection equipment to ensure it’s in the  best condition possible. To do this, just call a fire protection company that offers inspection reports. Then a certified inspector will come on an annual, semi-annual, or monthly basis to ensure your system will work properly in your time of need.

<H2> Protect Your Data Center from Fires 

Preventing data center fires is essential for safeguarding your business operations and valuable assets. By focusing on proactive measures such as handling flammable materials carefully, maintaining cleanliness and organization, and ensuring proper maintenance of climate control equipment, you can significantly reduce the risk of fires. Prioritizing fire prevention and protection measures not only mitigates the risk of fires but also reduces downtime and potential data loss, ensuring the uninterrupted continuity of your business operations.