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Fire Service Considerations in Electronic and Computer Equipment Areas

Written by  Timothy F. Joo, FF / EMT, CBCP

Electronic and Computer Equipment areas are found in every local community across America. They may range from a small computer in one office area to a large mainframe computer room with raised flooring and isolated power and climate controls. The primary purpose of this article is to address the specific construction principles and fire protection standards related to large data centers. The NFPA has reported more than one thousand fires erupting in computer equipment across the U.S. on an annual basis. Beginning in 1980 through 1991 the number of fires has been on a downward trend while 1991 to the last year of the report, 1996, has shown an upward trend in fire incidents . This trend can be attributable to the proliferation of home personal computers as well as the quantity of computers found in businesses today. Fires involving data centers, whether they originate inside the computer room or extend to