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Research from FM Global Aims to Prevent Costly Fires in Data Centers

Research from FM Global Aims to Prevent Costly Fires in Data Centers

Companies lose an average of US$7,900 per minute when their data centers go down. With fire being one of the most feared causes of outage, FM Global in partnership with the National Fire Protection Association's (NFPA) Fire Protection Research Foundation (FPRF) recently conducted more than 100 experiments to understand and develop solutions to prevent this costly hazard.

This research will be used to determine the optimal placement of smoke detectors in data centers in order to detect fires at the earliest possible moment. Until now, smoke detector placement has been educated guesswork.

"Last year, data center fires at client facilities resulted in average losses of US$17 million," said Dr. Louis Gritzo, vice president, manager of research for FM Global. "Our belief is that the majority of loss is preventable through engineering and research."

The live fire testing took place inside a full-size mock data center built at the FM Global Research Campus. Researchers mapped data center airand smoke-flow patterns and applied the knowledge to improve computer models for locating smoke detectors within data center facilities. The research will inform FM Global's property loss prevention engineering guidelines and NFPA's consensus standards.

The complete scientific research findings are available in a downloadable technical report at A video illustrating the project can be viewed on YouTube.