12Fire Protection and Life Safety Designin Data Centers

Sean S. Donohue

Hughes Associates, Inc., Colorado Springs, CO, USA

12.1 Fire Protection Fundamentals

Fire is a risk every business must deal with. For data and telecommunications centers, that risk includes not only the safety of people in the building but continuity of operations and the value of the equipment and data. Today, these centers are the nervous system of businesses and organizations throughout the world; and the more critical the site, the less acceptable the risk of interruption or downtime. Fire protection comes in many forms, but the goals are simple:

  1. Construct buildings and systems that guide people away from and protect them from harm.
  2. Give the users and responders accurate information in order to make informed decisions.
  3. Limit loss (life, downtime, equipment, data, or other).

This chapter will discuss life safety and active and passive fire protection and will present the choices available to the designer typically used in data centers.

12.1.1 Fire and Data Centers

Electronic equipment and data centers contain a variety of combustible fuel, from printed circuit boards to wiring insulation and cabinet enclosures, which increasingly contain more and more plastic. Furnishings, backboards, batteries, and floor tiles also contribute to fuel load.

In recent years, the trend has been to increase the rack power consumption density. With increased power density comes more heat and a higher risk of overheating ...

Get Data Center Handbook now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.