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Averting Fire Dangers and Downtime

Fire in mission-critical facilities can threaten the business as well as human life. Lessen your clients’ chances of suffering monetary or mortal loss with a sophisticated fire protection system that integrates seamlessly with the entire environment. Discover how to safeguard these assets with an effective blend of detection and suppression technologies.




This system consists of closed-type sprinkler heads connected to a series of piping arrangements. It has a pre-action valve that prevents the pipes from filling with water during normal times. This valve is held closed electrically, only being released by activation of the detection system (fire detectors) when an electrical signal is sent to the releasing solenoid valve. Upon receipt of the signal, which could be from any of the sensors attached to the system, an electrical mechanism opens the pre-action valve, and the pipelines fill with water under pressure. The system will now function as a standard wet-pipe system. The water tanks are located away from the area, but are readily accessible.

“Another important design consideration to plan for is space for suppression agent tanks. Some suppression agents are stored in gas form; others are stored as a liquid, which can impact the number and size of tanks required,” says Namek.

Clean Agent Suppression — In addition to sprinkler systems, clean agent suppression systems can extinguish fires in their incipient stage, well before enough heat builds in a room to activate a sprinkler system. When activated, these waterless flame suppression systems discharge as a gas. The gas reaches all areas of the protected facility and leaves no residue to damage sensitive equipment or require costly cleanup. Clean agents suppress fires by many methods, including depleting the area of oxygen, interrupting the chemical reactions occurring during combustion, and absorbing heat.

“Clean agent systems typically use [3M] Novec 1230, [DuPont] FM-200, or [Ansul] Inergen. They combine the benefits of clean agent systems and active fire protection with people-safe, clean, environmentally friendly performance,” says Eric Fournier, Project Manager, Total Site Solutions.

Clean agent suppression systems, protecting both the areas underneath and above the raised floor, are the most common method of fire protection for Class C electrical hazards.The main goal of the fire protection system in a datacenter is to get the fire under control without disrupting the flow of business or threatening occupants.  Being familiar with all technologies associated with fire detection, alarming, and suppression is important to developing a sound fire protection solution. Photo: ©istockphoto.com

“Raised floors bring up some important issues with regard to fire protection in mission-critical facilities,” says Fournier. Spaces beneath raised floors often experience many air changes per hour, which presents a difficult detection design. “Because raised floors create a completely separate plenum and pose as much of a fire hazard as the numerous pieces of computer equipment situated on the raised floors,” he continues, “they must be protected with the same level of fire protection as the space above.”

These clean agent suppression systems, when controlled by an interface with a high sensitivity smoke detection system, suppress fires without damaging IT equipment, and allow staff to get the facility up and running faster.

Getting Complexity Under Control

Regardless of which detectors or systems are used in the fire and life-safety design in a mission-critical facility, all must be networked into one central location. Whether that is a series of panels or a control center, there will be a vast amount of equipment used — hundreds and maybe thousands of devices, depending upon the size of the facility. Programming is the key to how well all the pieces come together.

The outcome for a fire and life-safety system within a mission-critical system remains: to minimize or prevent a fire event in order to maintain constant operation and protect occupants. This is a huge market opportunity for those dealers, integrators and engineered systems distributors (ESDs) skilled, trained and savvy enough to establish themselves as a go-to provider. 

Christa Poss is the Marketing Manager for System Sensor Aspirating Smoke Detection Business Unit (systemsensor.com).

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Article Topics
Fire/Life Safety · Fire/Life Safety 2 · Aspirated Smoke Detection System · Christa Poss · Features · Fire Detection · Mission-Critical Facilities · Smoke Detectors · All Topics
Aspirated Smoke Detection System, Christa Poss, Features, Fire Detection, Mission-Critical Facilities, Smoke Detectors, System Sensor


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