Focus: Fire-Life Safety / Column

Regulations, Codes & Standards Q&A: Electrical room

By Brad Keyes / Special to Healthcare Facilities Today
December 11, 2019

Q: I am aware that there is an exception for sprinklers not to be required in a dedicated electrical room that is protected with 2-hour construction. My question: Is a communications equipment room (IT and telecom wire racks and routers) also excepted from being sprinklered? The hospital’s engineer marked the communications rooms as not required in their sprinkler drawings.

A: According to NFPA 13-2010, section, sprinklers shall not be required in electrical equipment rooms where all of the following conditions are met:

1) The room is dedicated to electrical equipment only.

2) Only dry-type electrical equipment is used.

3) Equipment is installed in a 2-hour fire-rated enclosure including protection for penetrations.

4) No combustible storage is permitted to be stored in the room.

Is the room where the IT routers are housed a 2-hour fire-rated room?

Is the room where the IT routers are housed dedicated to electrical equipment only?

Is the room where the IT routers are housed free from any combustible storage?

I think you could make the argument that a IT Router room is an electrical equipment room, but does it meet all of the other requirement for sprinklers to be excluded?

Brad Keyes, CHSP, is the owner of KEYES Life Safety Compliance, and his expertise is in the management of the Life Safety Program, including the Environment of Care and Emergency Management programs.


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