Server room fireServer rooms are integral to the upkeep of many business functions, including running computers, telecommunications systems and irreplaceable data storage. With all that electrical equipment in a small, confined space, it’s no wonder that they are a prime spot when it comes to the danger of fire. In fact, a server room fire can be one of the worst disasters in a business environment, so the team at Hartson Fire have come up with advice on how to protect against this eventuality.

Common causes of a server room fire

The most common causes of server room fires include:

  • Electrical equipment failure: overloading plug sockets is a common cause along with short circuiting of electrical components such as switched or power inverters.
  • Overheating electronics: if cooling systems fail or the room does not have enough ventilation which then components can overheat to the point that a fire is inevitable.
  • Subfloor wiring problems: subfloor wiring can become damaged when floors are not strong enough, which can cause a number of problems, including overheating and even sparks which will also cause a fire.
  • Dirt and grease build up: cooling fans and other pieces of equipment readily attract dust and when this builds up it insulates the components and causes overheating. Once a fire occurs the built up dust can serve to fuel the fire even further.

Server Room Risk Assessment

A professional fire risk assessment is the first step in preventing a server room fire. A fire prevention specialist will be able to identify risks in an objective manner using guidance that is approved by professional bodies.

This risk assessment should identify any issues in your server room and give you recommendations on how to mitigate the risk of a fire.

If you’re planning a brand, new server room, having a fire risk assessment as part of the design process will help make sure the room is compliant with legislation from day one as well as minimising the risks of fire. You’ll then just have to update the risk assessment if our server room changes in any way.

Fire Safety Equipment for Server Rooms

Server room fireWhen it comes to extinguishers to use on a server room fire, water or powder based extinguishers should not be used as they will damage the equipment.  The best extinguisher to use is a CO2 extinguisher which discharges a 10 to 15 second burst of carbon dioxide (CO2) which suffocates the fire.  The CO2 starves the fire of oxygen and extinguishes it..

It’s also a good idea to invest in an automatic suppression system which is  integrated into a server rack and triggered when the integrated smoke detectors detect a fire. The extinguisher then floods the rack with inert gas, suppressing the fire. The system depends on reasonable enclosure of the server racks to prevent the rapid dissipation of the gas.

Other Measures to Prevent a Server Room Fire

You should always ensure that your server room is well ventilate as cooling the room sufficiently is one of the key elements of keeping your equipment safe from igniting. If the room isn’t reaching high temperatures, then the chances of overheating are minimised.

You should also provide professional training for IT staff as understanding how and when to use a fire extinguisher effectively can make a critical difference, save thousands of pounds worth of damage and keep people safe.

Hartson Fire

Hartson Fire provides a range of fire safety equipment and servicing for businesses around South West Wales.  Our specialist team can also carry out risk assessment of your premises, including server rooms, and recommend the most effective equipment to suit your needs.

To find our more, visit our website or call us today on the number below: