Tukes—Finland’s Safety Technology Authority—reports a serious hazard related to automatic fire extinguishing systems. In a recent data centre fire, the gas extinguishing system automatically put out the fire as intended. However, it also blew out a lightweight wall and a number of windows, spraying glass onto the street outside.

On discharge, the extinguishing system automatically shut the dampers in the air ducts. This sealed the premises tightly. However, gas extinguishing installations should also include pressure differential valves to protect humans and structures from the positive pressure caused by extinguishant release.

If such valves do not exist, safety must be ensured by other means. Persons who inspect or maintain gas extinguishing systems must take notice of this.

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