Is your Server Room a Fire Hazard?


It’s the stuff nightmares are made of. Your server is up in flames and all your data going up in smoke. Hopefully you’ve got a really great backup system in place. Then again, if you had a great system in place for your technology, your server probably wouldn’t be on fire right now. What are we talking about? Fire hazards in your server room. We walk into far too many offices and see cabling that’s a complete mess, safety violations and other fire hazards inside server rooms. In order to pass fire inspections and ensure that you’re doing your diligence to protect your server and data – here are a few signs that your server room is a fire hazard, and what you can do about it:

  1. Regularly test the power supplies on your servers.
    Your server is powered by an internal power supply. This power supply controls all of your equipment. If your supply fails, overheats, or catches fire, it can cause the entire server to surge and short out, which damages all your components. This often makes your data unrecoverable. Some warning signs of a failing power supply are alarms on your server or inside the operating system. Some servers are even equipped with a beeping mechanism that notifies when a power supply is in need of replacement or failing. In order to prevent this, you should be regularly testing your power supply using diagnostic software.
  1. Always use battery backups.
    Your server and network equipment should be plugged directly into a battery backup. Florida is the lightning capital of the United States and we experience thunderstorms nearly a third of the days in the year. That said, protecting your equipment from power surges is a no-brainer, but you should have a certain type of battery backup and know what to look for and when that battery backup should be replaced. The battery backup will give you power for as long as an hour to shut down your server properly. From a fire hazard perspective, you’ll want to make sure that you test your backups frequently using diagnostic testing. Some battery backups can be centrally managed and tested at once. It’s important to do this regularly, because UPS devices can surge or fry. While they usually have lights on them that come on when they need to be replaced or mechanisms that beep – being proactive about replacement can prevent major issues like surges or fires.
  1. Reduce the clutter.
    A server room isn’t a storage room. The more things that you store in a server room, the more opportunity fire has to spread and damage equipment and the rest of your office. Make sure that you don’t have hazardous chemicals, excessive paper, paint or other flammable articles in your server room.

Your server room houses the heart of your business. It’s often hosting your e-mail, data and line of business application. Be sure that you use these tips for keeping your server room free of fire hazards and protecting your data. If you have concerns about the age of your equipment or state of your server room, you can always call an IT professional to help you better organize everything and eliminate any hazards. Another option is to consider the cloud to avoid the maintenance required with server equipment. An IT partner can go over your options with you and help determine the best course of action.