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20 Jul 2022

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Dry fire pipes pose a potential risk to server rooms and data centers

Fire brigades often use dry fire extinguishing pipes to gain easier access to fire water. In buildings with server rooms or data centers, dry fire pipes are particularly critical so that no unnecessary water damage is caused by a fire. According to new research, they may also pose a risk.

The Dutch Institute for Public Safety warns that dry fire pipes may contribute more to smoke spread than previously thought. A building with dry fire pipes can be filled with water via the main water line by fire fighters. Water is then transported via pipelines to the desired floor. A dry extinguishing pipe transports water to the fire faster and with less effort than manually laying hoses. In the event that the dry fire pipes are not airtight, they may pose serious risks for causing alarms in fire detection systems in other parts of the building, for example server rooms.

Recent research suggests that a flexible system is necessary for preventing or limiting smoke spread via dry pipes. The current location of fire hose connections for dry pipelines (in the stairwell or at the lock at the stairwell) limits flexibility. Additionally, several practical examples demonstrate that smoke can spread to the stairwell from the current locations. This is because separations are broken with the fire hose in order to reach the seat of the fire.

Based on its recent research the Institute for Public Safety recommends solving this problem by using multiple connection points per floor. The system will become more flexible as a result. It is possible for connection points to be located in locks or, if these are not present, in stairwells and in spaces immediately behind locks or stairwells. Depending on the fire conditions and smoke spread, the extinguisher can be connected as close as possible to the dry fire extinguisher. This way it remains possible to connect to the floor below the fire floor.

Photo credit: knauth

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