Is Your IT and Medical Equipment Properly Protected?

Today’s healthcare facilities house countless pieces of valuable equipment ranging from IT equipment, linear accelerators and MRI units, to cardiovascular imaging machines for cath labs, CT scanners and other imaging equipment. These sophisticated machines require a significant finan­cial investment that facility owners and operators should be sure to protect.

While it is common to incorporate wet-pipe fire sprinkler systems throughout most areas within a healthcare facility, this type of system is not recommended for rooms that house expensive IT and medical equipment. If your equipment is located in an area protected by a wet-pipe sprinkler system, a sprinkler pipe break or accidental damage of a sprinkler head could cause water to discharge onto the equipment, ultimately de­stroying the electronic equipment the system was originally intended to protect.

One way to protect your investment is to install a single interlock pre-action sprinkler system in rooms where this expensive equipment is located. Under normal operating conditions, the sprinkler piping in a pre-action system is filled with pressurized air. If a pipe breaks or a sprinkler head is accidentally broken, air will be discharged and an alarm will sound, but water will not be released. Water will only be released into the piping system by means of a detection system, usually heat or smoke detectors. When the detection system is activated, a solenoid valve is opened and water floods the piping system. This provides an extra level of protection and prevents the untimely discharge of water onto your equipment.

If you have made a large investment in IT or medical equipment, or plan to do so in the future, it is impor­tant to consider protecting your investment with a pre-action sprinkler system. This relatively simple fire protection system could prevent unnecessary damage to your equipment.

For more information on pre-ac­tion sprinkler systems or other alternative fire protection systems, please contact Eric Sellers, PE at (717) 845-7654 or

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