Fire detection and prevention: Expert advice from Sharp Group’s Martin Connolly

The potential causes of fires from electrical faults, overheating, faulty wiring, cooling malfunctions and human errors underscore the need for preventative measures. The likelihood of a fire is influenced by factors like the quality of equipment, maintenance practices and adherence to safety protocols.

Advanced detection systems

Deploy fire detection systems to swiftly identify hazards

Regular maintenance

Conduct routine inspections, maintenance and equipment checks. Fire extinguishers must adhere to regulatory standards and require annual testing. Detection systems need ongoing monitoring to avoid sensitivity loss and must not exceed the recommended manufacturer’s lifespan recommendations. An oversensitive detector is as bad as a non-reacting device because this leads to device isolation when there are too many unwanted alarms that can be forgotten about.

Fire suppression systems

Install advanced fire suppression systems like gas based or water mist systems. Make sure the solution if the most appropriate and as environmentally friendly as possible.

Temperature monitoring

Utilise sophisticated temperature monitoring to identify areas at risk of overheating and take preventative actions. Where building management system alarms are not sufficient, remote monitoring systems can be provided.

Proper wiring

Ensure proper electrical wiring, grounding and power distribution to minimise the risk of short circuits. Mandatory five year testing and certification of cabling is essential, along with annual portable appliance testing.


Educate data centre staff about fire prevention, emergency protocols and the correct operation of fire safety equipment.

Physical security

It is critical to restrict access to sensitive areas and install fire resistant barriers to prevent unauthorised interference.

Disaster recovery planning

Develop comprehensive disaster recovery plans that include fire scenarios to minimise data loss and downtime.

Monitoring and alarm systems

Employ real time monitoring and alarm systems to provide immediate alerts if temperature or smoke levels exceed safe thresholds.