Fire Protection for Computer and Electrical Rooms
A question commonly proposed to fire protection engineers called on to design a fire protection system for a new facility goes like this, “What type of fire protection is appropriate for our computer rooms and data storage areas?” Yesterday’s answer was halon. The answer to the question depends on many factors and in fact, leads to practical and viable answers given today that may very well be quite different from the answer given five or ten years from now. Today, there are agencies worldwide testing and evaluating new alternative extinguishing agents to halons with due respect to concerns about environmental safety, ozone depletion, and global warming potential. The key elemental determinants being tested with regard to these inert gas agents include their level of fire suppression effectiveness, their effect on the environment, their potential for overpressurization of an enclosure, whether they produce gaseous by-products, and how quickly they activate after the origin of a fire.