Damage caused by FM-200 Fire Supression Systems

5 pts.
Tags:
Data center design
Data center planning
Fire suppression
FM-200
FM-200 Fire Suppression Systems
What damage would be caused to equipment and data within a typical server room by the activation of a gas based Fire Suppression System such as the FM200 and what is the likelihood of it being inadvertently activated?

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Based on this statement

“FM-200 these types of suppression systems fill the room with an inert gas that puts out the fire without damage to equipment or occupants.”

from this site:

http://www.fpmltd.co.uk/suppression.html

I’d say there would be no damage (other than fire related damage…)

As far as inadvertent activation, I’m not sure… When was the last time your fire alarm system was falsely triggered? That would be a factor of the triggering system and the environment that it is in.

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  • Dave mc
    I'm not certain if it is correct to state that FM200 will not effect the equipment?? I am a supporter of FM200 but I also remember Halon which was also not meant to harm the equipment. But following a discharge of Halon, a lot of the terminal connections and card buss slot connections had to be cleaned if the equipment was intended to last the longer term. If this was not done the Halon reacted with the silver or gold layers on the connections causing a higher resistance and ultimately corroded ??? terminals. While in my experience (Quite a few dumps) it was not difficult to clean the terminals (Contact cleaner worked and was used to spray the Halon residue off) it was time consuming but could be done over a 1 to 2 month period. I don’t know the answer if FM200 will create the same problems, I think only time will tell. Having said the above it is a lot better to have to clean the FM200 off, than clean and perform repairs after a very dirty and toxic/acidic fire and that is without consideration to the interruption to operations. The issue of the false discharge can be effectively managed provided the fire infrastructure is installed correctly and just as importantly, maintained correctly. The other issue is manage close control over the IT, comms staff and contractors to ensure no works that can create dust or any smoke can be performed without the fire system or at least the FM200 being isolated. In the case of the fire system it should always be that gas discharge can only occur after duel independent fire detection circuit activation. Eg; Two separate circuits or duel addressable heads must be in alarm. If Vesda is utilised then the same applies IT MUST BE DUEL VESDA OR ONE VESDA AND ONE SMOKE DETECTOR THAT NEEDS TO BE ACTIVATED PRIOR TO THE GAS RELEASE. And before the fire companies start jumping up and down, in my experience of over 25 years and over 30 data centres worth of management, I find the use of firing the gas off a single or so called smart VESDA even if it is set to the highest setting is not acceptable. Yes you may get away with it for many years but one day unusual circumstances or faulty single VESDA will occur and bang goes the very expensive gas and all the operational disruption to IT services. Spend the extra up front and install the duel circuits and/or Vesda as the gas dump will cost a hell of a lot more money in the long run.
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