Believe it or not, businesses have actually been using automatic fire suppression systems since the 1800's – while the modern systems we now use are far more advanced, the principals remain the same. One of the biggest changes in the last century to automatic fire suppression systems is their change from being mostly water-based to the introduction of using what are called 'clean agents' to fight fires.
What's Meant by Clean Agent?
The term 'clean agent' refers a non-toxic, non-conductive gaseous material that is used to suppress fires while still being friendly for the ecosystem and ozone. These are chemically engineered agents like FM-200, manufactured by Chemtura or Novec 1230, which is produced by 3M. With clean agents, the suppression system relies on maintaining a bank of gas containers connected to a primary detection and control network. When fire activity is detected, the systems deploy the gas in to smother the flames.
Clean Agents and Your Server Room
Businesses store vital data in more than one form, but chief among them is the server room, where the primary and backup servers that are the foundation for your network are found. Fire suppression systems that cover this room make it possible to extinguish a blaze before it can truly get underway, and by using clean agents instead of a water based system you can minimize the damage and clean up in the room. The result is that your digitally stored data remains safe, and your business free from disruption.
Preventing Damage to Paper Files
Many business owners also maintain traditional hard copy data somewhere in their offices, particularly copies (and sometimes originals) of historical data. What would happen if those contracts, financial reports, and other important papers were destroyed? Overhead sprinkler systems may put out some types of fires, but the result is soggy documents that are of little to no use. Gaseous fire suppression systems don't damage paper. This approach to fire management means your hard copies are not damaged by the fire or by the means used to put out the fire.
Protecting the Data on Computer Hard Drives
You probably have some data stored on computer hard drives that has not been uploaded to the server – employee's tracking spreadsheets, half completed proposals, or a draft one of your managers has been working on all week. What happens if a fire breaks out in a room with dozens of workstations? You need a solution that kills the fire and prevents damage to those hard drives, or risk losing hours and hours of work. Rather than relying on fire extinguisher systems that require manual intervention or a water-based solution that can fry electronics, a clean agent system that kicks in automatically will protect your computers and the data they hold.
Even if you use cloud resources to store much of your data, there is still plenty kept locally in some form. Do you really want to spend the time and effort trying to piece that information back together after an office fire?
Think long and hard about the current methods your business uses for fire protection and suppression. At present, does the strategy rely on an antiquated sprinkler system, fire extinguishers, and emergency exit signs? If so, it's time to add a more contemporary element to your fire safety and suppression plan. Talk with a professional about the benefits of clean agent fire suppression and learn how such a system protects your data, your equipment, and even your office furnishings. You'll agree that this type of system is right for you, your business, and your employees.