Fire protection for UPS (uninterruptible power supply) systems

Most fires that damage computer systems do not start in the systems themselves, but in ordinary combustibles in the computer room. Thus, the primary control method for computer facilities, including dedicated UPS systems, is the elimination of non-essential combustibles (i.e., paper, records, and office supplies) in the computer room.

The area(s) for the computer and UPS systems should be separated from all other areas by fire-rated walls, floors and ceilings. These areas should be provided with at least 1-hour fire-rated separations and an automatic suppression system. Penetrations through these separations should be sealed with a fire resistive compound having an equal or greater fire rating. Additionally, raised floors (with computer cabling underneath) should be fire stopped. The use of carpeting, wall decorations, and upholstered furniture should be avoided in these areas.

Extinguishing systems protecting these areas can vary. Automatic sprinkler systems are effective in combating fire in these exposures, but can lead to extensive damage to the electrical equipment. Often combinations of heat/smoke detection and deluge sprinklers are used to protect computer and UPS systems. When the detection system is activated, it first interrupts the system power, and then activates the deluge system. This approach can reduce damage from short-circuiting of electrical equipment. Another option is the use of gaseous extinguishing systems, such as carbon dioxide, to protect sensitive electronic equipment. These systems suppress fires by interruption of the chemical reaction and/or exclusion of oxygen. These systems typically produce less equipment damage than automatic sprinklers, but are substantially more expensive.

For additional information on protecting electronic equipment, sign in to the Risk Solutions Partners page and scroll down to E&S. After entering E&S, click on Risk Management information and search for FP-23¬02, Clean Agent Extinguishing System for more information.


Copyright ©2020, ISO Services Properties, Inc.

This material is provided for informational purposes only and does not provide any coverage or guarantee loss prevention. The examples in this material are provided as hypothetical and for illustration purposes only. The Hanover Insurance Company and its affiliates and subsidiaries (“The Hanover”) specifically disclaim any warranty or representation that acceptance of any recommendations contained herein will make any premises, or operation safe or in compliance with any law or regulation. By providing this information to you, The Hanover does not assume (and specifically disclaims) any duty, undertaking or responsibility to you. The decision to accept or implement any recommendation(s) or advice contained in this material must be made by you.

LC MAR 2019 11-121
171-0853 (5/16)