Datacenter, Eemshaven

First integrated water mist fire safety system upgraded

Datacenter Eemshaven has relied on FireX for fire protection for years. In 2006 the datacenter, then in a new 20,000 square metre building, was fitted with a fire detection and evacuation system and the Marioff HI-FOG® water mist system. After that, FireX provided annual maintenance. An upgrade is currently being planned as part of which FireX will optimise all installations in the server rooms and the offices.

Sixteen years ago, Datacenter Eemshaven was the first datacenter in Eemshaven. FireX project manager Geert, responsible for the fire detection and evacuation system, remembers “The client had strict fire protection requirements. They were stricture than the regulations, as in legal terms the datacenter was classed as ‘light industry’. However, they wanted a much higher level of protection. That included full monitoring with smoke detectors in the offices, aspirating systems in the server rooms and a water mist system for fire suppression throughout the building.” FireX analysed the requirements and undertook its first integrated project, where the water mist, fire detection and evacuation systems were interfaced.

Aspirating system for accurate location determination

“The fire detection and evacuation system included a basic fire control panel with manual call points, automatic detectors and flashers to support the acoustic alarm. These were connected by an intelligent loop so each alarm is displayed. So they know exactly where it was initiated.” FireX also installed 22 aspirating detection systems: a pipe system which continuously draws air samples from rooms to detect even minute, invisible smoke particles. That makes intervention possible during the smouldering stage of an incipient fire.

Water mist controls fires and limits water damage

Project manager Ivo Kleijn, our water mist expert who worked on the Eemshaven project “If something starts smouldering the water mist system is activated. Water mist uses a fog of microdroplets which means that much less water is released than by a conventional sprinkler system. But the extinguishing effect is the same. That minimises the likelihood of water damage, which is obviously extremely important in a datacenter. Water mist also cools very effectively, so an incipient fire is quickly brought under control.”

Testing – basically a risk assessment exercise

During the installation, and especially the interfacing of all systems, testing is always essential. That also applied at Eemshaven. FireX decided to simulate a fire to test the whole system. Geert: “For example, fire tests with beech blocks to determine the response speed of the systems. It is up to the customer to specify how rapidly the suppression system should respond to the detection system. That is critical as you have to balance fire damage and water damage. Basically, it is a risk assessment exercise: obviously you want to suppress a fire as quickly as possible. But a high sensitivity to fire or smoke means that the system responds more quickly.”

Upgrade for a fire safe future

To ensure the fire safety of the datacenter they have appointed a number of in-house system managers. They have been trained by FireX and know exactly how to read the systems. FireX undertakes the annual maintenance of the installations. All systems will be optimised in the near future and FireX will be involved in that. Geert considers this a clear indication that the customer is happy with our service and expertise. “We never rest on our laurels, in terms of product and system expertise. That includes implementing changes to NEN standards and regulations. We are going to update the systems to the latest requirements en current product developments, so they are ready for many more years. That will ensure the future fire safety of datacenter Eemshaven.”

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