Cost effective fire suppression system for business critical areas

In today’s harsh economic times, effective and dependable fire suppression within business critical areas such as data rooms remains essential, but securing it at the right price can be difficult. Ian Bartle examines some of the key challenges involved and explains what can be done to alleviate the pressure on those critical budgets.
It’s understandable that in all businesses, continuous examination of operating costs are routinely made. Within this, the cost of fire suppression is often considered to be a relatively high but necessary cost. However, there can be very few applications where the absolute reliability of operation of the fire suppression equipment is more business critical than in a data room.
For instance, data rooms of any significant size will have an air conditioning system in place to control the temperature because of the tremendous amount of heat that’s generated on a continuous basis. Failure of the air conditioning system to function could easily lead to an outbreak of fire with a resultant and devastating loss of all data within minutes. And don’t forget, we’re potentially talking here of data that’s taken many years to build.
So no question, data needs to be protected by a dependable computer room or server room fire suppression system, but does the cost of the system have to give the financial director sleepless nights? The answer is a resounding no.
One thing that we all know is that water and computers don’t sit happily together. That’s why for years now, the FM200 chemical agent and other traditional Inert gas systems have been employed to do the job of fire suppression. They have done the job of restraining fires by decreasing the oxygen in the atmosphere through releasing gas through a valve using extreme pressure. The gases can vary from man made gasses such as FM200, (a synthetic gas) or other natural gasses such as IG55 which is made up of 50% Argon and 50% Nitrogen.
However, both FM 2000 and the other natural gasses have seen substantial price hikes recently (up to 40% in some cases) and are therefore now far less competitive on price. This fact has forced buyers of fire suppression systems to widen their search for equally reliable but more cost effective alternatives.
As already described, Data Rooms need the optimum in fire suppression as do other special areas such as network infrastructures, art galleries, museums, antique centres, and power generation plants to name just a few.
The objective is always to save lives and property. But innovative fire protection can now do a whole lot more. Today it combines science and economics and matches these qualities to total effectiveness and reliability.
In the case of Data Room protection there is now a system that not only beats the performance of FM 2000 and other natural gasses, it also provides a superior, environmentally friendly fire suppressant. Not only that, the system known as Stat-X allows easier and more cost-effective installations for all these types of challenging applications.
The Stat-X family of fire suppression systems is based on aerosol technology developed in the space programme, and manufactured to ISO 9001:2000 standards in the USA. It’s a patented potassium-based aerosol that’s ecologically safe, ten times as effective as halon replacements with zero ozone depletion and no global warming potential.
And if that’s not enough, the Stat-X application technology requires no pressure vessels, manifolds, nozzles or pipe work. All factors which result in significant installation and maintenance savings.
On activation, Stat-X produces a potassium-based mist that suppresses the fire by chemically interfering with the free radicals of flame. It contains no stored pressure like most other systems which means that the units are hermetically sealed and have a 10 year life. The suppressant for the system is chemically produced on activation. As the suppressant is a mist and not a gas there is also no need for expensive room integrity testing room sealing and over pressure vents fitting.
The units are hermetically sealed and so equally at home in I.T rooms or at the other extreme, very aggressive machine tool atmospheres. In fact, the majority of machine tool manufacturers now choose Stat-X as their OEM supplied fire suppression system. It can even be substituted for a more traditional gas system using the original detection and activation system, making a very cost effective retro-fit for older installations.
The benefits of Stat-X can be stated as being:
• 10 times more effective than Halon
• Cheaper initial outlay
• Less space taken
• Less installation time
• No integrity testing required
• Yearly servicing
• Easier to live with
It’s a fire suppression system that’s been proven to be simple, practical and reliable. In the type of applications mentioned, in the event of a fire breaking out the use of Stat-X will minimise damage and greatly simplify the clean-up operations post the incidence.
Let there be no doubt that fire damage in a Data Room or say a Networking Infrastructure can have devastating consequences. Effective and reliable suppression is essential and it’s therefore important to obtain advice from an experienced supplier so that the correct balance between protection and cost is obtained. At Nobel Fire Systems the policy is always to share a complete understanding of the overall risk and only on that basis will it be then possible to take a fully informed approach to providing the most appropriate solution.