Fire safety solutions are a major concern for data centers, according to Info-Tech research Group:

A major consideration in any data center renovation is fire protection and suppression. These renovation decisions are not always voluntary. Your goal will be to meet requirements at the very minimum. Additional protection to property such as pre-action sprinklers, piping, and clean agent systems must be evaluated rather than installed by default.

Under NFPA 75 a data center must have a sprinkler system, detection and alarm systems, emergency power-off, and portable fire extinguishers. When in doubt, you should consult the authority having jurisdiction where the data center is located to identify any additional local building bylaws, codes, and regulations in regards to fire protection.

Renovating fire protection and suppression systems in the data center requires the expertise of a fire engineer to ensure the protection of property, continuity of business and most importantly life safety in the data center are upheld.

Bringing in a fire protection engineer to design the fire safety solution in your data center is a vital step in ensuring your assets. Harrington Group has helped several clients develop systems to fit their data center facility needs. For example, we were recommended by an electrical engineering firm involved in a major banking facility to design an FM-200 gaseous total flooding extinguishing system for renovations to their mission-critical data processing room. The client became concerned with the performance of a fire protection contractor, who was designing and installing their fire protection systems. After reviewing the contractor’s existing plans and providing the client with guidance, Harrington Group was retained to carry out an assessment to determine the fire safety solutions and features needed, and then to design the suppression and detection systems.

Due to a fast approaching regulatory deadline, Harrington Group suggested a negotiated contract approach and a suppression system contractor. Working closely with the client and the contractor, installation drawings were quickly developed and approved, and the systems installed, reviewed, tested, and commissioned within a very short timeframe. The total time from initial assessment to system commissioning was approximately eight weeks, allowing the client to meet their regulatory commitment to improve the overall fire protection for the facility.