In the event of a fire in a commercial building, there is a great risk you will face severe property damage. What many businesses do not always consider is that there is also a substantial risk that a company’s data could be lost in the flames, as well. This oversight is unfortunate considering that many fires begin in data storage closets or server rooms, often causing a company’s data to be destroyed first.
Losing that data can result in a serious setback for your company, especially if you rely on it to conduct your business. As a result, it is absolutely essential to implement fire suppression systems for your cloud storage and computer rooms. By protecting your servers, you are also protecting yourself from losing days or even months attempting to recover lost data.
What are the Main Causes of Fires in Cloud Storage and Computer Rooms?
Server rooms can pose a substantial fire risk. They are filled with power cords, electrical wires, combustible materials and equipment that can overheat or spark. All of these objects can create the perfect storm of circumstances that results in a fire. Here are some of the top causes of fires in cloud storage and computer rooms:
- Overloaded power outlets or power strips. The more electricity a power outlet or power strip draws to power an electrical device, the more heat builds up in the wires transporting that energy. When outlets and strips are overloaded, that heat becomes unmanageable, and the wires or devices themselves can ignite.
- Overheated equipment. Just as power outlets and strips can overheat from the electricity flowing through them, the computers and server equipment can quickly warm up, too. Without providing an air-conditioned environment, computers can get too hot, ignite and cause detrimental fires.
- Dirty or unmaintained equipment. Computers that are not kept clean or properly maintained can be prone to short circuiting. If the short-circuiting causes sparks, and those sparks are able to catch, a fire can break out.
- Clutter. A minor spark can become a serious fire if it happens to land on a combustible object, such as a pile of papers, garbage or a fabric-covered piece of furniture. Having more clutter around increases the chances of a fire occurring that is caused by these circumstances.
What is the Best Fire Suppression Systems for Cloud Storage and Computer Rooms?
There are various steps business owners can take to lessen the chance of fires in their computer rooms. Carefully distributing the flow of electricity between outlets, power cables and devices, as well as keeping these devices in a temperature-controlled environment will avoid overheating. Periodic cleaning, maintenance and removal of unnecessary clutter will also prevent sparking and lower the chances of those sparks finding flammable objects. Finally, it is always recommended that backup copies of the data stored in server rooms are made and that those copies are stored in another location. That way, in a worst-case scenario, a significant amount of time will not be wasted attempting to recover the data on those destroyed devices.
Nevertheless, even with all of these precautions in place, there is still a chance a fire could occur. Therefore, it is a good idea to have more advanced fire suppression solutions installed to avoid catastrophic loss from a fire. Since a water sprinkler system can cause just as much damage to electrical devices as a fire, fire suppression systems that use a gaseous agent to extinguish the flames are recommended.
Gaseous fire suppression systems work in similar ways as water sprinklers; smoke detectors signal the presence of a fire, triggering the release of a gaseous agent. However, instead of smothering the flames, as water does, gaseous methods fill the area with unreactive gases that dilute the oxygen level in the room. Once the oxygen level reaches a low enough point, the fire is no longer able to burn and simply goes out. As a result, the fire is put out without causing any additional damage to the computer equipment. Despite the fact that gaseous systems alter the amount of oxygen in the area, the oxygen levels are maintained at a level in which individuals are still able to safely evacuate the premises.
How Can Companies Best Prepare for a Fire Emergency in These Environments?
The best thing a company can do to prepare for a fire emergency in their cloud storage and computer rooms is to have effective fire suppression systems in place. The best options should be able to immediately respond to the early traces of a fire and extinguish it efficiently. However, preparation for a fire emergency goes beyond simply installing fire suppression systems. Businesses must take necessary steps to understand the threats that can potentially cause a fire and perform actions that mitigate those threats. Educating employees about how to avoid overheating and overloading devices is one example, as is scheduling regular reminders to clean and maintain equipment. Finally, companies should always assume that the worst situation could still occur, and make sure that all the data compiled in those servers is backed up and stored in a secure, off-site location. By performing these tasks, a business can be confident that they are prepared for a fire emergency in their server rooms. Keystone Fire Protection Co. specializes in installing and maintaining fire suppression equipments & systems for high-value assets. For more information on how to choose the right fire suppression system for your data storage room, contact Keystone today!