Server Room Safety 101: Fire Safety

Posted by Gaw Technology on 9/24/2013

When you’re in charge of a server room, your job doesn’t just involve making sure that the servers are up and running and keeping computer cabinets tidy.  Managing a server room should involve protecting the room and its equipment against potential damage.  When people think about major threats to electronics they think about water and power surges, but there is one thing that can potentially severely damage your severs that can be difficult to protect against: fire.  Dozens of hot servers running in a small area can create the perfect environment for a fire, but fighting a fire in a server room can be difficult.  Aside from potential damage from smoke and flames, there’s the added risk of damaging server equipment with water used to fight the fire.  When you’re creating your emergency fire plan for your server room, there are a few factors you need to consider.

NFPA Compliance

If you want to protect your server room, you need to follow the standards and practices set by NFPA.  The National Fire Protection Association has strict standards that are designed to help protect businesses and individuals from fires.  There are three main codes and standards your server room should be in compliance with:

  • NFPA 72- National fire alarm code
  • NFPA 75- Standard for protection of computer and data processing equipment
  • NFPA 76- Standard for fire protection of telecommunications facilities

Not complying with these standards doesn’t just put your equipment at risk; it could also cause serious legal repercussions for your business.

Employee Safety

You’re going to feel compelled to protect your server equipment at all costs, but in terms of importance human lives should come first.  One of your main priorities should be to protect as much equipment as possible, but you shouldn’t put your life or the lives of others at risk to do so.  Make sure that you have an evacuation plan that can get your IT staff and employees in the building to safety if a fire occurs.  Failing to do so can end in tragedy, and possible legal problems if someone is hurt.

Continuing Operations

A server room fire can damage a lot of equipment, but it can also cause even more damage to your business.  Having your servers down could cause a lot of problems for your business, and you need to find a way to keep things functioning while you deal with the aftermath of a fire.  An emergency can show you how important it is to back up your data and to have a backup plan in case something happens in your server room.

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