24 Oct 2007

24 Oct 2007

The Role of Sprinklers in Computer Room Fire Protection


Category: computer room fire protection, fire risk, mission critical facilities

A number of clients have asked us about the viability of replacing their ‘wet’ sprinkler systems with a dry-type fire suppression system, such as FM-200. Not many IT personnel understand the role of water-based fire suppression systems, but all realize the potential for water in the data processing environment to be a “bad thing.”
The short answer is that sprinkler systems protect the building and dry-type systems protect the equipment. In most cases a dry-type system cannot take the place of a sprinkler system, it can only be installed in addition to it. At the end of the day, the local fire inspection is the authority and has jurisdiction over what is permissible. This is the reason that pre-action sprinkler systems are primarily used for computer room fire protection.
That being said, fire prevention provides more protection against damage than any type of detection or suppression equipment available. For Tier I and Tier II computer rooms, PTS often recommends installing only a pre-action sprinkler system activated by a photo-electric smoke detection system and forgo a dry-type system and VESDA system. We find the most effective strategy is to emphasize prevention and early detection. This allows the client to maximize availability by investing in solutions for areas of higher risk, such as fully redundant power and cooling systems.
For more information on fire protection, read our vendor white paper “Mitigating Fire Risks in Mission Critical Facilities,” which provides a clear understanding of the creation, detection, suppression and prevention of fire within mission critical facilities. Fire codes for Information Technology environments are discussed. Best practices for increasing availability are provided.

Comments (3)

  1. Anonymous on 16th Feb 2010

    hello , i just want to know if it coded to put a sprinklers at (IT Rooms) or (Computer rooms). and if so where can i find this.

  2. Peter Sacco on 4th Jan 2011

    Installing sprinklers is a building code issue specific to the state and local jurisdiction you are in. Typically, water-based sprinklers are meant to, 'save the building, and dry-type suppression systems, 'save the IT equipment'. Furthermore, in most jurisdictions you cannot have one or the other. Your best bet is to contact a local fire protection contractor to determine what is right for your area.

  3. Anna Swiderski on 2nd Dec 2012

    There are many things should be taken into consideration, but you've made a good point here. Thanks a lot for that. I will follow your way soon.
    top alarm system

Comments are closed.