Small Server & Comms Room Fire Protection

Server rooms are the heart of a company’s information structure. They are extremely critical assets because the loss of data can be devastating and one of the most important objectives of a company is business continuity. The constant presence of the ignition source (electricity) and combustible material put at stake people’s life and costly business critical assets. About 6% of infrastructure failures in data centres are related to fire. The average loss for a data centre due to downtime is approx. $9,000.00 per minute or $609,500 for one downtime even

Why Does Downtime Matter To You?

The security and reliability of components in the LAN and data centre space is important to the success of businesses. As the world becomes more connected, any failure in the network leads to downtime and this can cause a wide range of revenue loss consequences.

Modern businesses depend on online communication and services, where downtime of a communication network/server can result in loss of productivity. For companies who conduct substantial business online and display their products on a website, downtime can lead to loss in purchase opportunities, which in turn results in loss of revenue. Data loss due to outage is a nightmare for many companies, as it allows potential data exposure and creates opportunities for cyber-attacks. Also, and it can lead to uncertainty among customers resulting in losing the customer base.

What is the solution?

Highly sensitive smoke detectors such as VESDA HSSD can detect even the lowest smoke concentrations which may be caused by a malfunction of an electric or electronic element, for example. In the event of a fire, the fire protection system needs to react reliably and appropriately, triggering a coordinated alarm which leads people out of the danger area and activates extinguishing systems. An automated extinguishing system can provide optimal protection for sensitive electronic equipment – with specially designed nozzles not impacting on computer hard disk drives and people safe, environmentally friendly extinguishing agents. We have an article on reducing the noise in a fire suppression discharge here.

What options are there for fire suppression systems?

Inert gas fire systems once activated lower the oxygen level in the room to a point where the fire is extinguished but is safe for you and your employees.

Commonly used inert gasses for server or comms rooms are IG-55 (Argonite®). IG-55 is an inert gas blend of argon and nitrogen, which occur naturally in the environment. With zero ozone depletion potential ODP, zero Global warming potential GWP and zero atmospheric lifetime, it has excellent environmental properties. A typical design concentration of 40% will reduce the oxygen level to 12.5% within 60 seconds.

Another gas is IG-541 (Inergen®). IG-541 is a mixture of 52% Nitrogen, 40% Argon and 8% CO2. However, in the event of a fire, when IG-541 is discharged, it mixes with the air present in the room to create a mixture that comprises of 67.3% Nitrogen, 12.5% Oxygen, 17% Argon and 3.2% Carbon Dioxide. As with IG-55, the mixture of gasses will reduce the oxygen levels down and extinguish the fire and will be safe for people within the room.

Nitrogen is inert gas naturally present in the atmosphere consisting of 100% Nitrogen, therefore its green-house effect is nil and its ozone layer depletion potential is zero. It is chemically inert, non-conductive, colourless, odourless and flavourless. As with IG-55 & IG-541, Nitrogen gas systems will reduce the oxygen levels down and extinguish the fire and will be safe for people within the comms or server room.

Synthetic gas systems quickly extinguish the fire once activated; they are designed to extinguish the fire in under 10 seconds.

In the 1960's Halon gas was developed and for many years Halon 1301 was the clean agent of choice for fixed extinguishing systems. Halon is anorganic halide which is very damaging to our environment, it is a global warming gas and is one of the family gasses known as halocarbons.

Halon’s were superseded by HFC gases FM-200® (HFC-227EA) and HFC 125 (Ecaro®-25). For many years these gasses were used within the IT industry to extinguish fires in the server room. It is worth noting that HFC 125 (Ecaro®-25) can no longer be refilled.

In the early 1990’s 3M™ developed Novec™ 1230 FK-5-1-12 (Sapphire®), an environmentally friendly alternative to ozone-depleting FM-200® & Ecaro®-25.

3M™ Novec™ 1230 is not an HFC gas, it is a fluoroketone. It is not subject to the HFC phasedown under the F-Gas Regulation in Europe or any global regulatory body, including the Montreal Protocol.

It is stored as a liquid within the cylinder pressurised by nitrogen and discharged as a gas.

Call us today to find out how we can help.

Contact us today for a free Fire Suppression gas quote.

Call us on 01628 902107 or email [email protected]

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