Fire protection expert, ORR Protection's VP of Engineering and NFPA 75's Chairman Lee Kaiser was recently interviewed by the International Data Center Authority (IDCA) about the importance of fire protection in these sensitive workspaces. Learn more about NFPA 75, ICDA's most up-to-date standards, and how these two organizations plan on collaborating in the future to continue to bring you the best in fire protection and data center safety.
Lee: "My name is Lee Kaiser and I'm chairman of NFPA 75 and I'm from Louisville Kentucky. IDCA is the leader in bringing together all the disparate standards that are present in the data center industry. I think that's why they're important. NFPA is a leader in life safety and has proven to reduce the loss of life and loss of property throughout the United States and really throughout the world. I think that's why they're relevant and why they're both important.
NFPA is the National Fire Protection Association and it's really an international organization that helps keep people safe. From a code making perspective, it's a consensus code making standards body that allows the public to help write the codes of standards.
Working Together To Protect Data Centers
NFPA 75 is the standard for fire protection for information technology equipment, but people just normally know it as the data center fire protection standard. That's really what NFPA 75 is. For IDCA and NFPA to collaborate, I think there are a lot of opportunities in data center fire protection. One of the most costly disaster events that any data center can withstand is a fire, and so I feel that NFPA has a duty to reach out to the leading organizations in data center education and make sure that good fire protection principles are taught.
To me, I was first attracted to the mission of IDCA because I saw that they were trying to make sense of all of these different disparate standards for the data center - whether it's on the IT side or the facilities side I think they saw the need for some cohesiveness and to bring that all under one standard. I think there's a lot of benefit to that approach, so as chairman of NFPA 75, my role is to guide the Technical Committee for that standard towards developing that code and in updating it as need be every three years.
Education, Certification, Standardization
I see a big benefit in people choosing IDCA certifications so that they have the knowledge so they can operate their data center with the systems they have correctly. Some of the principles I see of IDCA is education, certification, and standardization. They train people to work in that data center space and to be professionals in it, they certify those people with various certification programs and then they have standardization. It’s a pretty comprehensive set that I can see - standards for data center operations - and I think that our industry needs that. Certainly from my view, the fire protection industry would benefit from the approach that they take.
To me, IDCA integrates IT and facilities together through their standards, and then they use their standards and whatever resources available to educate professionals in the industry and then certify them to work in data centers. Joining the IDCA Technical Committee to represent good fire protection within the IDCA standards and I think that there'd be a lot of opportunity to make sure that data center professionals are educated about all the ways that they can harden their facilities against fire and protect them when those fires do happen.
IDCA as an education body is great because it looks at things in a very neutral manner. It looks at the whole picture and all the different aspects that one needs to know, and I don't think there's anybody else doing that. I think IDCA is another organization that has the best results at mind. IDCA cares about longevity and survivability of data centers and their output, and I think NFPA has the same things in mind.
NFPA 75 and IDCA
I think one of the ways that the company could best approach solving the problems is having standards in place that they can follow and make sure that all the bases are covered. And IDCA provides that. What I hope to get out of a relationship with IDCA is making sure the input that we give to the NFPA Technical Committee on data centers is the most up-to-date, most current with what's happening with all the other disciplines that happen in the data center.
The potential for collaboration between IDCA and NFPA 75 is really exciting to me. As the chairman of NFPA 75 I look forward to collaborating with IDCA in the future and I thank them for their time."