232, “Standard for the Protection of
Records,” for additional information
on general requirements for fire protection in a records center and specific
information for file rooms and vaults
as well as the salvage of water-damaged
Additionally, talking with their
companies’ insurance providers is an
essential step for records storage firms
to take early in the process.
Martha Mayer, a sales manager for
Business Data Record Services, New
Brighton, Minn., says companies
should also meet with their local fire
Once a company has met with
these external advisors, facility layout
is another point to consider.
Mayer says that record storage
companies should consider the height
of their buildings and the types of materials they have in storage when shop-
ping for fire detection and suppression
equipment. Additionally, companies
should make sure there is enough
clearance for the detection equipment
they select to work effectively.
With records centers’ high ceilings,
proper sprinkler system spacing is important. Jason Kneen, marketing communications manager for Notifier, a
Northford, Conn.-based manufacturer
of commercial fire alarm technology
and systems, says that while 30 feet is
the standard range for detection systems, detectors may need to be placed
more closely together—as close as 15
feet—in facilities with high ceilings to
make them more effective.
Mayer says a facility’s fire suppression system will vary based on whether
catwalks or order pickers are used to
access records. “I believe you must have
sprinklers under the catwalk in addition to one on the ceiling,” she says.
Further, Mayer says stored material should be at least 3 feet below the
sprinkler head for it to be effective.
While a secure shredding operation
could have dust to contend with in
the shredding area that could cause
false alarms to register, a document
storage facility is often a more sterile
environment. Companies that operate in both the record storage and the
document destruction sectors should
address these differences as they go
about shopping for a fire detection
system. Infrared heat detection systems, which detect the radiant energy
from all types of fires, are one way to
address these differences, as they are
not likely to be tripped by dust. Additionally, smoke alarm systems with
filters that screen out dust particulate
are also available.