Data Center Enclosures & Existing Fire Suppression Systems

Fire Suppression

Understanding your Fire Suppression set up

Fire Suppression is an important issue when deciding how to create a new layout for a data center enclosure. AmCraft products are flexible enough to work around many types of existing fire suppression systems installed in your facility. We not manufacture or provide fire suppression products or fire suppression support, rather we’ve detailed here some key issues to take into consideration before you begin designing a new data center enclosure.

Fire detection and suppression can be a more complex issue due to a much wider range of systems and related options. Fire detection and fire suppression are critical not only for government compliance and the safety of workers, but can determine the impact of a fire in your facility. It is important to assess how your fire safety system is installed and the equipment you will need to successfully extinguish a fire.

Fire suppression assessments

First, fire protection assessment should be initiated at the local level. Seek out your fire code requirements from the fire department that will be servicing your area. Together, a safe plan could be initiated before you build your data center, saving you both time and money.

One important consideration of a Data Center layout is the potential isolation of fire detection sensors in zones created by panels and / or doors. Installation of a data center curtains or rigid panels at the ceiling level typically creates your enclosure. This arrangement can isolate fire detection systems such as smoke detectors and VESDA inlets. The improper installation of an air containment curtain or rigid panel can inhibit sprinklers and fire prevention equipment from doing their job, causing serious life threatening and property damage issues.

How to create a safe data center enclosure

A well thought out and properly installed air containment panel system should be considered in the layout phase. Air containment curtains are fabricated to provide a ‘drop down’ of the curtains at the ceiling level using fuse links that melt at the temperature below the heat requirement for fire prevention systems to turn on. The curtains fall away at the ceiling level so the sprinkler spray patterns and your fire suppression system can work properly. Most fire authorities will insist on lanyard drop away fusible link systems which are specifically designed to work with an existing fire detection and suppression system.

Key points to keep in mind are:
DO NOT isolate any detection points (such as a Vesda type system) and DO NOT isolate any suppression points. These areas need to remain free and clear of the enclosure for the safety systems to work properly.

Access, Egress and Safety
Data Center containment aisles and enclosures should be well lit and free of obstructions. The ability of any person(s) in the enclosed area to hear warning annunciator should be first and foremost a life safety issue. The exit areas should not impede a safe exit in quick manner.

Materials
AmCraft’s flexible vinyl materials are ASTM certified and flame retardant. The hardware we provide are flame rated components. Each provide a satisfactory level of fire protection for employees and help to minimize damage to servers and racks in the enclosure if a fire is present.

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