The mission of a telecommunications company - whether it is a traditional regional operating company, a long-distance provider, a wireless service, or a broadband company offering bundled TV, internet and phone—is to provide customers with round-the-clock, uninterrupted service. A fire in any critical telecom facility—whether a central office, a satellite transmission station, or a cable head-end—can knock out vital communication links for thousands of customers at once.
Like data centers, telco facilities rely on sensitive computing equipment, they are often tightly packed, cooling is a concern, cables and network equipment are always live with electricity, and a fire would be catastrophic. Risk is accentuated when buildings are unmanned . Many are located in remote areas. In some cases, the building’s sole purpose is to house telco network equipment and fire suppression equipment is not required by the AHJ.
- Spot detectors – Passive detection that activates when the smoke reaches the detector.
- Air Sampling Smoke Detection – Active detection that continuously draws air from the room to a high sensitivity detector. Provides very early warning that a fire is starting. Can be used to monitor return air grilles where room air flow is high.
- Both types can be employed at ceiling level or under raised floor.
- Spot detectors – Passive detection that activates if heat in the area around the detector exceeds a predefined threshold.
Suppression – Clean Agent
- A control panel releases clean agent into the room and/or under floor when a designated number of detectors activate. Widely used in data centers.
- Clean agent is waterless and does no harm to electronic components. Data center can remain operational during a discharge.
Suppression - Sprinkler
- May be a wet system (pipes always full of water) or a pre-action system (pipes remain dry until detection of a fire causes an action that fills them with water).
- Often times a requirement of the local AHJ even though water suppression would cause considerable damage to computing equipment.
Suppression – Water Mist
- New technology that atomizes water droplets into a non-conductive fog that suppresses fire without water damage. Presently used in data centers in the United States and Europe.
- AHJs have begun accepting water mist as an alternative to traditional sprinkler systems.
FIRE CODES & STANDARDS
- NFPA 76: Standard for the Fire Protection of Telecommunications Facilities
- NFPA 2001: Clean Agent Fire Extinguishing Systems
- NFPA 12a: Standard on Halon 1301 Fire Extinguishing Systems
- NFPA 72: National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code
- NFPA 25: Inspection, Testing and Maintenance of Water Based Fire Protection Systems
- NFPA 10: Standard for Portable Fire Extinguishers