Smoke Fire Dampers in Data Centres

Uncontrolled smoke will cause damage, additional difficulty in response, equipment failures and costly downtime. For early warning, smoke detectors should be located where the smoke will travel -usually along the air circulation path. This early smoke detection can largely depend on the designers knowledge of and the specification of the right type of HVAC system and products. Once smoke is detected a facility should have the capability to quickly respond, contain and suppress the source of smoke and/or extract the smoke. Specifying the appropriate cause and effect and product type is critical to protect occupants whilst minimising damage and down time. 

Automatic power and HVAC shutdown is a very hot topic for IT personnel. Codes and standards generally require powering down equipment in an IT room when a fire is detected as well as turning off HVAC units and closing dampers serving the room. However, this is not popular with many IT operators. In recent years it has become in vogue to “ride through” the event because the reality of an immediate shutdown of server equipment is too risky for the primary mission of the data centre. The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) often allows exceptions for these “critical operation data centres” if proper justification can be made. Furthermore, this new reality has been realised by the NFPA committee that more Class C fires will be part of the data centre fire experience.

System designers must make accommodations for this and plan for same. Safegard Systems can assist designers in this regard and help address some of the challenges of data centres which can include;  

  • Complicated strategies for fire and smoke containment Smoke extract and clearance.

  • Gas suppression and clearance.

  • Local legislation that can impose requirements on materials used and tests required.

  • Local fire safety legislation.

  • Long cabling and networking runs.

  • Nonstandard installations and untested penetrations through new building materials.

The Safegard V5 panel is an innovative, intelligent control and monitoring system used in data centres throughout Europe to control smoke and fire dampers. The system monitors and commands particular dampers to open or close in affected zones during a fire. The control system quickly and effectively interfaces directly with the building's fire alarm system and Building Management System. It also means that all of the dampers can be tested remotely on a regular basis, adhering to current building regulations and best practice and significantly reduces maintenance time and cost. The automatic fire/smoke dampers used throughout the data centres are CE marked to the relevant EN 1366-2 or 1366-10 depending on the application and product type and are selected to meet local requirements and legislation.

Some of the Data Centres in Europe using Safegard System Solutions:

Safegard Systems design and supply systems to protect data centres and their occupants in the event of fire. Solutions are designed and supplied with the user in mind, providing innovative approaches that offer simple means of installation, operation and maintenance.