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Table Of Contents  CertiGuide to Security+
 9  Chapter 5:  Operational/Organizational Security (Domain 5.0; 15%)
      9  5.1  Physical Security
           9  5.1.3  Environment

Previous Topic/Section  Shielding
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5.2  Disaster Recovery
Next Topic/Section  Fire Suppression

Computers do not mix well with water. Fire suppression for computers used to be setup with Halon 1211 gas. Due to the nature of Halon 1211 being destructive to the ozone layer, it has been replaced with FE-36 in both portable and fixed system fire extinguishers. FE-36 is “much safer” from inhalation point of view, according to the manufacturer, DuPont.

FE-13 can be used to prevent explosions. The inert concentration for FE-13 Dupont states the inertia point for methane/air is 20.5%. While safer than Halon 12111, the Dupont FAQ states the following regarding human safety:

“Where possible, evacuate before discharge. Cardio toxicity is what usually LIMITS the quantity of halocarbon agent to which humans can be exposed. This level is determined by challenging dogs with epinephrine in the presence of an air/agent mixture. No cardiac sensitization was observed at 30% FE-13™ in air. DuPont has established a fire emergency exposure limit (FEEL) for FE-13™ of 20% by volume for up to 15 minutes with a 1 minute not-to-exceed ceiling of 23%”

The manufacturers’ requirements indicate that a fixed fire suppression system brings the contained area up to 16% concentration within 10 seconds with this heavier than air fire suppression gas.

Beyond fire suppression equipment, consider logistical planning as well. The theory goes that nobody should be in the building when the fire alarm goes off. And, how many movies have you seen where someone sets off a fire alarm to get everyone out of the building while the actor/actress goes for a quick data mining trip? I guess the movie would have to take a different turn if the computers shut down when there was an alarm.

Shut Down Servers as Part of a Fire Plan

All Network Operating Systems have some sort of batch function that can be invoked to shut systems down automatically. Make that part of your fire planning.

Previous Topic/Section  Shielding
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5.2  Disaster Recovery
Next Topic/Section

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CertiGuide for Security+ ( on
Version 1.0 - Version Date: November 15, 2004

Adapted with permission from a work created by Tcat Houser et al. Version Copyright 2004 Charles M. Kozierok. All Rights Reserved.
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