Leicestershire Data Centre
Sector: Commercial

Protec Fire and Security Group Ltd was tasked with providing specialist fire detection and protection solutions for data centres. The systems had to be designed to cater for different operating environments and incorporate various technologies to not only detect a fire but also extinguish it if one occurred. The ultimate goal was to protect the lives of people and safeguard property.

Systems Covered
  • Fire Detection
  • Aspirating Detection
  • Gas Suppression
  • Watermist

The Challenge

Storing information in the digital cloud has become a crucial part of our lives, whether it is personal data, company records, or national security information. However, we often forget that the digital cloud is a physical entity consisting of numerous servers located in data centres. Because of this, it is of utmost importance that these data centres have exceptional safety measures not only against computer viruses but also physical threats such as fire. The reason is that the data loss in a data centre due to fire can be catastrophic, given the sensitive nature and value of the information stored in these facilities.

The Solution

Protec has taken significant measures to reduce fire risk by developing, installing, and commissioning a complete solution that protects property and life. We incorporated high-quality fire safety products, including Protec-manufactured and third-party systems. These systems are designed to detect fires and smoke early and utilise efficient gas and water suppressant systems to completely protect the data centres from fire.

Fire Detection – The site is protected by our 6500 range of addressable fire alarm control panels, which provide a complete and harmonious solution for managing fire detection and protection. The data centre is equipped with our 6000PLUS range of optical heat and smoke sensors and third-party infrared flame detectors distributed throughout all areas. Additionally, we use our range of aspirating systems within the data halls and hot aisles. The aspirating detectors use our patented duel scatter chamber and cloud chamber technology to provide industry-leading early warning detection for fire detection.

Gas Suppression –Due to the high fire risk, the data centre halls are protected with an inert gas (Argon/Nitrogen blend) suppression system. The Inert Agent reduces the Oxygen to between 11-13%, extinguishing fires within 60 seconds with no environmental impact or damage to servers. The fire detection aspirators contribute to the ‘double knock’ system to prevent false alarms, which is vital for uninterrupted operation.

Water Mist – Several Lithium-Ion batteries are housed in server units within the data centres. For protection in these areas, we have implemented a high-pressure water mist system to guard against potential thermal runaway. This system is highly effective at cooling the room in case of a fire.

However, traditional water-based suppression systems can be as damaging as a fire in electrical environments. Therefore, we use a high-pressure mist delivered at 100-Bar, which reduces water usage significantly and minimises damage while controlling fire. A dry double-knock system also guarantees that false activations are impossible within the data centre.

The Aftercare

The 6500 fire alarm system utilises our 6000PLUS protocol. One of the advantages of this protocol is that it is open, which means that clients can choose their preferred maintenance provider to maintain their systems. If clients want to switch back to a Protec-managed system, they can contact our service team for assistance.

Similarly, a third-party contractor can also service and maintain fire protection services for the mechanical elements, allowing clients to select their chosen service and maintenance provider. This is particularly beneficial for larger companies that own many projects, as they can employ their incumbent maintenance provider to look after the systems across all their sites as one extensive property portfolio.

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