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3M™ Novec™ 1230 Fluid Fire Wire – Spring 2019

Fire Wire is 3M™ Novec™ 1230 Fire Protection Fluid’s quarterly fire suppression newsletter, developed for specifying engineers, architects and everyone else working in special hazards fire protection.

Data center fire suppression: beyond “checking the box”

  • Technicians work on a rack of servers in a data center.

    Why does choosing the right fire suppression system for a data center matter so much? In a recent Datacenter Dynamics article, 3M’s Bart Goeman explains that it’s important for data center managers and owners to become more educated about the impact of a fire suppression system choice on the productivity and reliability of the data that is stored, processed and distributed in that data center.

    A system choice goes beyond meeting the minimum requirements to “check the box” for insurance coverage and has significant implications for business continuity, standards compliance and more. Consider:

    • Business continuity – choosing a system to maximize uptime and minimize the potential for damage from the discharge itself.
    • Standards compliance – selecting only systems that have a system approval from an internationally recognized testing laboratory as well as being compliant across the component, system and installation levels.
    • Legislation and regulatory compliance – the European F-Gas regulation is driving an aggressive phase-down of HFCs, while global markets are phasing down more slowly under the Montreal Protocol. Managers should consider the environmental implications of their system choice and the potential for future regulatory actions to impact the supply chain.
    • Sustainability profile – data centers have frequently been critiqued in the news because of their environmental impacts, particularly around their very high energy consumption. Their environmental profiles are very visible in the public eye – and a sustainable fire suppression system can help data center managers paint a picture of their overall commitment to sustainability.

    Working with a data center manager on a new fire suppression system? While a fire suppression system isn’t generally top of mind in a new data center, specifiers play an important role in teaching data center managers, owners and other clients about the long-term consequences of their decision. Share a quick intro to the key considerations with them.

Answering the call 24-7: Protecting 911 call centers

  • 911 emergency dispatchers work in a high-tech call center protected by Novec 1230 fluid.

    Every day, there are more than 500,000 emergency calls placed in the U.S. Every one of those calls goes to a dispatcher in a 911 call center, who assesses the emergency and directs the right first responders to the scene. And every time a 911 call center experiences an operational disruption such as a fire, the consequences ripple out into the community as help cannot be dispatched as effectively.

    That’s why a 911 call center in one of the largest metro areas in the U.S. decided to invest in a fire suppression system using Novec 1230 fluid to protect its people and equipment. A modern call center is packed with data, processing and communications equipment – which means that electrical issues or simple mishaps can cause a fire. Since Novec 1230 fluid is non-conductive, has a high margin of safety for occupants and doesn’t leave a residue, it can quickly put out fires at the incipient stage to ensure continuous or minimally disrupted operations without damaging protected equipment.

    Read more about why this 911 call center selected Novec 1230 fluid – and what happened the first time the system was put to the test.

Fact or Fiction: 3M™ Novec™ 1230 Fire Protection Fluid has the highest margin of safety for human occupancy of any clean agent

  • Two megaphones pointing in opposite directions, labeled “Fact” and “Fiction”

    Fact. We stand by our safety margin with pride. Novec 1230 fluid has the highest safety margin of any clean agent listed in the NFPA 2001 standard, 2018 edition.

    Safety margin is determined by comparing the minimum design concentration for the agent to be effective to the No Observed Adverse Effect Level (NOAEL). Some agents, such as CO2, are lethal at design concentration, while others have varying safety margins. Based on the minimum design concentrations outlined in NFPA 2001, Novec 1230 fluid has a safety margin ranging from 69% to 122% for Class A, B and C fires, while agents such as HFC-227ea have a 3% to 34% safety margin. Several representative agents are compared in Figure 1 below.

    As a room is filled with objects – servers, desks, heavy equipment and more – that displace air, the safety margin is reduced. The higher the safety margin, the more flexibility the facility manager will have in the future to update equipment or accommodate changes in technology or new demands for space without putting occupant safety at risk. And that provides peace of mind for the specifier, the facility manager, and everyone else involved.

    Specifying a system based on safety margin? We have sample specification copy that highlights the importance of a high safety margin to meet your customer’s needs.

    Figure 1: Margin of Safety by Agent

    1 Adjusted per 2012 NFPA 2001 requirements for minimum values (excluding halon: paragraph and Table A.
    2 NOAEL for cardiac sensitization
    3 NOAEL for acute toxicity, including cardiac sensitization
    4 Safety Margin = (NOAEL – Use Concentration) / Use Concentration

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