Server rooms contain very expensive equipment and hold crucial information that must not be lost. Early detection and ideally an automatic extinction of a fire is essential. Water or powder based extinguishers are out of the question due to the damage caused to the equipment. The following extinguishers can be used:
CO2 fire extinguishers discharge a 10 to 15 second burst of carbon dioxide (CO2) which suffocates the fire. The CO2 starves the fire of oxygen and extinguishes it. The disadvantage is that the gas dissipates and if the source of the fire is still very hot, the fire can self-ignite again. The problem linked to a portable CO2 extinguisher for a server room is that the fire can only be extinguished while staff is around. Also, if the server room is very small, the person fighting the fire might become asphyxiated, as the oxygen in the room is displaced by CO2.
Automatic fire suppression systems are integrated into a server rack and are triggered when the integrated smoke detectors detect a fire. The extinguisher then floods the rack with inert gas, suppressing the fire. The system depends on reasonable enclosure of the server racks to prevent the rapid dissipation of the gas. Equally, a strong extraction system in the room might affect the efficiency of the gas.
Reviewed: 15/10/2020 (doc:6 V1.0). Our articles are reviewed regularly. However, any changes made to standards or legislation following the review date will not have been considered. Please note that we provide abridged, easy-to-understand guidance. To make detailed decisions about your fire safety provisions, you might require further advice or need to consult the full standards and legislation.