electronics racksWith such a high concentration of power, data centers are at risk for fires. More than 65% of IT equipment failures happen because the server room is poorly maintained, inadequate, or not air conditioned well. Fires can happen around your electronics racks for a multitude of reasons and are highly unpredictable. By taking the right fire prevention and safety measures, your organization can avoid these accidents.

  1. Manage flammable materials. Remember that everyday objects like cardboard boxes and styrofoam packaging can be a serious fire hazard. If you can, try to avoid bringing these into the data center at all. A great way to do this is to designate a room for potentially flammable materials.
  2. Create multiple power rooms. If all of your power is being generated from one source, one small error can shut down your entire system. This same principle applies to fire safety. If water or other material causes an electrical fire, all of your power fuses will be affected. Solve this by placing them in multiple rooms rather than one.
  3. Maintain heating and cooling systems. Make sure that your hot and cold aisle containment systems are working in balance. Too much heat can cause serious system issues. If your system is using gas, make sure that the gas storage and transport systems are all working properly to avoid leaks.
  4. Perform regular inspections. The best way to prevent a fire, and other issues with your server racks, is to schedule inspections. This practice could potentially stop problems in their tracks, preventing destructive forces like fires.
  5. Be prepared for a fire. While your team is taking steps to prevent fires in your data center, it is best to be prepared for the worst. Inform your local fire department of the nature of your data center. Check your smoke alarms regularly and make sure to have fire extinguishers and blankets on hand in the event of an emergency.

Remember: Your fire safety needs could change if you redesign your data center. Keep your data racks as risk-free as possible by accounting for any hazards in the room. When in doubt, ask a professional fire inspector to assess your overall risk.