Response Considerations for Data Centers

Issue 10 and Volume 162.

BY DANIEL J. NEAL, GHORLEY GREGG, AND PATTI COLLINS Responding to large computer data centers is a relatively new concern for fire departments. These facilities maintain large server rooms, redundant power backups, large cooling systems, and secure access. Firefighters should be familiar with the common emergencies at these facilities and should also understand the importance of maintaining the operation of these facilities despite emergency incidents. Computer data centers have a vested interest in maintaining their business continuity, because the accidental shutdown of these facilities can have nationwide security and economic impact. Therefore, fire department personnel’s familiarity with these facilities and their operations is essential. Loudoun County (VA) Fire, Rescue, and Emergency Management (LCFR), located in northern Virginia, protects a 525-square-mile area. The county is the home to several large data center complexes that handle large portions of Internet traffic, including America Online, credit card transactions, online companies, and Verizon. Construction.…

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