I used to be a slave to my day timer. I would fly from Anchorage, Alaska back to Dallas, Texas and leave it on the plane in Seattle. Consequently, the next week, if my assistant wasn’t with me or until the airlines would send it back to me, I would be lost. I didn’t know where I had to go, who I had to see or even when to be there! I don’t even carry one today! I load everything I have to do the next week on my body files, things like, my appointments, addresses, phone numbers, or anything else that cover these same scheduled events. I actually load them sometimes Sunday night or Monday morning while I shower. It’s definitely the best stress reliever I have ever found and I teach it in our workshops. I can make it adjustable for any given day, or a month at a time. That’s my choice!

Imagine never ever having to be the poster child for sticky notes. Impossible you say, well ask the 1000’s of students graduated from MTI’s 7-hour workshop. By priming your mind, with mindful based stress reduction techniques, and using mental file folders or body files, it’s definitely achievable. You see, I never have left my house, my office. or anywhere else and left an arm or a leg, they’re always with me.

Yes, I know how your husband or wife calls you at the office or home and says, “Hey sweetheart before you come home do you mind picking up these things? Then they give you the list and say. “Oh and don’t forget to write them down.” You know what happens next. The list you made while on the phone in your office or on the dining room table is still exactly where you left it before you walked through the door of that grocery store. You immediately stress out thinking what was it I was supposed to get? Or you do the universal shuffle and embarrass yourself by calling your loved one to explain how it blew out the window, or someone spilled coffee on it and you can no longer read it. How creative you get with your excuse is your own vice.

The body files I am referring to are 10 files built right on your body. You can load it with grocery items, things to do, flight information, or a list of other important things you normally carry around in your notebooks, purses, wallets, or the famous day timer. Yes the one I left on the plane I mentioned above. Oh and by the way if you find my day timer no need to return it, remember my day timer is in my mind!

Well strap in and let me take you through a short explanation of what we teach to those 1000’s of workshop attendees I referred to above. That’s right, a system to change their life. Hopefully to help us build the memory traces, or tangles we need to have when those fearful cognitive declines hit us in our latter years. Or I might even mention the mental disorders caused by internal or external diseases, the kinds that grasp so many unfortunate individuals in life today. I hate to even have to think about the existing brain maladies of life today our medical professionals have to treat. Diseases we get because we didn’t have some forethought or guidance in designing our lifestyles, or brain maintenance techniques. Research or developments in science are now being discovered through longitudinal or double blind studies today to help eliminate those maladies.

I hope I haven’t alarmed you or maybe I do hope I have alarmed you. I am not trying to cause you Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I am merely trying to make you aware of the benefits of brain development and maintenance on a daily basis. Yes, today with the new findings and technical breakthroughs, we can have the healthy brain now being shown on TV and the internet you too can have a healthy brain.

After attending a program with, my brother in law and sister in law who are both M.D.’s one in internal medicine and his wife rehabilatative medicine, put on by the ANNENBERG CENTER FOR HEALTH SCIENCES AT EISENHOWER I quickly became aware of the problem. In that program called “The Memory Prescription: Assessing and Treating the Spectrum of Brain Impairment” in 2004, I realized the major problem most individuals are having universally is M.C.I. It’s called Mild Cognitive Impairment it is alive and running wild. The real reason is because we have not been taught formalized Mnemonic training or proper brain maintenance. Lack of programs like these causes us to continue encoding, storing and poorly retrieving the same way we always have. I then realized how important memory training will become in the future. It solidified in my mind why people are so adamant about looking for ways to avoid the cognitive decline that comes with aging. Sometimes these cognitive declines are due to environmental toxins or just the dreaded inflammations our body gets internally because of the stress levels we don’t recognize we have or intend to cause ourselves.

We do have internal and external environmental toxins that can be diminished or lightened with proper brain care and nourishment. Most are agricultural toxins or our internal inflammation of the body due to stress, or other chemical transmitters. By training your working memory you wil alleviate some of the cortisol stress hormones generated by the Adrenal gland.

At MTI we teach and deliver formalized memory training workshops in businesses today. We either do by way of a public forum or at in-house venues it’s our effort to contribute. Even though many are generic basic programs we can customize programs based on industry or corporation management styles or new paradigms. We have been hired to teach how to remember paradigms such as Six Sigma Training or Stephen Coveys 7 Habits of Highly Effective Managers. We teach these skills to help people remember by using the following tools: A blended combination of body files, picture vocabularies for numbers and mnemonic devices for formulas, concepts or theory education.

The important things you have to remember you need to learn by using experiential instruction. This makes it more conducive to everyday multi-tasking operations within your mind. Organization is the key to memory. What I mean is having a mental location to store information. Your normal process of data gathering through encoding, storage and retrieval processes are rearranged to Encode, recode then store for retrieval. Where better to be able to do that than by using your mental and physical capacities you now have?

When we build these body files, we call look files, because you can see them in your external view as well as your mind’s eye, we then teach our attendee’s how to utilize them. A person’s intuitive nature then becomes an active tool along with memory fabrication. When you utilize the different learning mechanisms such as sight, touch, hearing, smelling, and emotional attachment values you can more effectively recode data you have learned or learn every day. I believe your picture vocabularies we each individually build proactively create conscious and unconscious memories. These memories acquired by us form our mind and otherwise are the essence of our long term and short term capacities.

The “Body Files” we help you create are also tied through a memory matrix to learning and utilizing mnemonic devices. In addition, at the same time you learn these files in an order we then we teach to file in that same exact order. We create file structures you will use now and in the future using phonetic tools and applications. The combination of files, time intervals daily, weekly, monthly or even yearly help us recall. It then gives us the springboard effect to broaden our comprehension, increase our retention values ultimately reducing the time involved in the learning curve.

Now let me go back and try to explain what I mean by the above sequence of applications and events. There are 10 files we build on your body. They are listed below and I will build them in your mind if you will allow me. I say that with no reservation that it can be done because every one of us has this innate ability laying dormant in our mind. It is actually just a matter of turning the switches on. Your mind works the same way your laptop or desktop computer works it’s just that you haven’t been given or taught the software program to make it run more efficiently. Yes better than any computer built today, or I personally believe, will ever be built in the future.

Let me say we have in the past and currently do deliver workshops both in-house and publicly to employees and management levels of fortune 500 companies like Microsoft, Texas Instruments, Hewlett Packard, Dell and the other major designers of computer equipment, or operating systems, and software. They probably would not like me to say that but no doubt that they are intellectually and managerially confident in their respective climates. That being said you also have the best camera ever developed or probably will be developed in your eyesight. (ditto on the above disclaimer as well). Your mind works in pictures and searches for action to drive the learning ability. Actually it drives the acronym F.P.G. I will tell you about soon.

The ten files are:

1.- Toes Where I would file the first item to pick up or thing to do.
2.- Knees The next position I would use to store the next item I need to remember.
3.- Muscle I am almost halfway up my body files and have many more. Files that is.
4.- Rear It’s not called a derriere, buttocks, tush, or booty its a rear for a reason.
5.- Lungs I’m halfway there with plenty to spare.
6.- Shoulders It’s a strong place to put things I carry a lot around on it daily.
7.- Collar I sometimes have to stretch It open to file the next item here.
8.- Face I hope egg on it is not the only thing that gets there without planning.
9.- Point The name of the thing I try to make sometimes and my family miss it.
10.-Ceiling The very thing my wife says I hit some times instead of filing to it.

Yes, I know the last file number 10-Ceiling is not actually on your body but it will always be wherever you are. Most people say wait a minute when I go to the grocery store I have to buy a lot more than 10 items and we know that. We teach our students not to worry about the number of items at that point because before the end of their workshop we show them how to load hundreds of items on those same ten files! Yes, it is exciting, unbelievable, mysterious and rewarding. It’s just the opposite way you install a new program on your computer. Instead of unfolding, decompressing or extrapolating the files outward, we compress the files inward in your mind and use bullet points to store multiple items or pictures.

Once we establish the files, we show our students how to file anything to those files. In fact, I have written an audio cd program on how to load all 66 books of the Bible on nine of those ten files so that you can recall them in order or backwards and forwards. We actually, load the 39 books of the Old Testament and 27 books of the New Testament on your first 9 body files. My wife and I taught tenth grade students in Sunday school for years using these same ten files to remember scripture, key authors and pertinent information about the books of the Bible.

Most of us were taught to read left to right top to bottom, and I recognize not all of us were taught that method, but most of us in the U.S. were. Given that fact, we teach you how to file exactly the opposite way from the bottom up. Our mind, like the computers we created, cannot read a blank or a space so we teach you to how to load your mental file folders accordingly. There are also other rules we teach to expedite your learning of these techniques and processes.

We teach the file picture-glue-method of learning. This is the fourth generation of mnemonics and we are currently working on the fifth as you read this. Now let me explain the F.P.G. system to you.

File- It’s a mental location or somewhere to store information in.
Pictures-That’s because our mind works more efficiently through the use of pictures.
Glue- For the bonding agent used to keep the picture in the file long enough to create a long term memory trace starting in the short term memory status.

The filing of such items as dates, numbers, texts, appointments, abstracts or formulas using this system allows us to recall the items or information at our mental fingertips. We do this eliminating the stresses causing the ultimate memory deficiencies due to age related cognitive decline or mild cognitive impairments. You hold the power to avoid such problems by exercising your brain much like you do for your physical ability. Oh yeah in case you didn’t realize it I just taught you the ten basic phonetic sounds commonly used in our workshops to remember names and other pertinent information. And I did it in your subconscious mind and now can you figure it out. Let me say I am of the opinion that the age related cognitive declines I referred to before I personally believe are not really necessary. I believe research and training of the working memory or fluid intelligence as we psychologist technically call it will begin to change in the future to read just cognitive decline and not age related. I believe in the plasticity of the brain and its ability to reconstruct itself. I don’t really think the age is all it’s made up to be.

To learn more of these types of files and even the more detailed think files we teach used for detailed data recall Please visit our website. If you would like to find out how one can attend our public workshop, have us develop an in-house customized workshop or purchase the systems on audio, you can find it all there. I hope you have enjoyed the read. Please send your comments or questions.

The Memory Technologies Institute is a company that specializes in training business professionals and students in corporate environments and personal settings on how to develop an instant recall memory. These skills are necessary to maintain a productive position in today’s competitive market place in order to be more profitable. Memory Technologies Institute, by simplifying the memory process has become America’s leading memory training workshops. Our highly trained memory speakers and instructors are certified and qualified in accordance with “HR Bill 6578 signed by President Bush in 1989 for the decade of the brain” and speak on a national keynote speaking circuits. The skills they will demonstrate for your group have been featured on television talk shows, radio programs and have been featured in newspapers and magazines.

Harold Mangum Psychologist/President MTI has been studying mneonics for 19 years and currently teaches corporations like Texas Instruments, Haliburton, Schlumberger, AT&T, Xerox, Eastman Kodak, Microsoft, Entex, Sprint USA, Bausch & Lomb, Johnson & Johnson, 3M and many more fortune 500 companies. His innovative instruction style and authorship of several memory programs, like Maximum Recall Memory, Advanced Memory Recall, Maximum Scripture Memory Recall, and Advance Numbers and Playing cards leads the industry as the most used mnemonics training in the industry. The newest program Maximum Name recall is the newest addition. He is featured as Keynote speaker for hundreds of associations and conferences all over the U.S. Visit [http://www.memorytech.net] for more information and how to book a presentation or keynote address at your next conference or convention. The website also has the audio programs for purchase. 1000’s of testimonials on file for review.

Protecting Our Schools on a Budget: Are SRO’s the Only Answer?

If you are the Chief, a patrolman, detective, a school resource officer, or a parent there is a good chance you have found yourself in conversations with friends, colleagues, or citizens about school violence in the wake of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary. Whether these conversations take place in the squad room, a City Council meeting, or over dinner, it becomes obvious that there is no clear answer to the prevention of school violence. The depravity of the Sandy Hook shooting has shed a very public spot light on the dark reality of how vulnerable our youngest citizens can be at school.

School violence is unfortunately part of our American history dating back to the 18th Century. The Pontiac’s Rebellion school massacre of 1764 was regrettably our first introduction to this type of violence. On July 26th, 1764, four American Indian attackers shot and killed over eight school children along with their schoolmaster outside of what is now Greencastle, Pennsylvania. As our history progressed, school shootings did as well. Many believe the increased incidents of school shootings are a product of modern times. However, it has been deemed newsworthy as early as 1874.

After a Los Angeles high school student was shot and killed, the September 11th, 1874 edition of the Los Angeles Herald declared “This boy lost his life through the too common habit among boys of carrying deadly weapons. We do not know that this habit can be broken up. We do not know that school teachers have the right, or would exercise it if they had, of searching the pockets of their pupils, but it seems almost a necessity that some such rule be enforced… Nearly every school-boy carries a pistol, and the power of these pistols range from the harmless six-bit auction concern to the deadly Colt’s six-shooter.”

Colorado has the unfortunate distinction of being home to two of the worst school shootings in history. Columbine (1999) and Platte Canyon (2006) have not only changed the landscape of how law enforcement responds to such incidents, but they have been permanently imprinted into the national consciousness of school violence. With the infamy of these incidents, it is easy to forget that Colorado school shootings can be traced back almost 4 decades prior. On October 17th, 1961, a Morey Junior High student in Denver was shot and killed by a fellow student. Unfortunately, as time has marched on, school shootings in the United States have only increased. Any one even casually paying attention already knows that it’s not a matter of if it will happen, but when. For those of us in law enforcement, we must honestly ask ourselves not if it will happen, but will it happen on our watch in our jurisdiction.

As the tragedy of Sandy Hook was broadcast into the nations’ family rooms on December 14th, 2012, there has been a renewed outcry for increased protection of our school children to shield them from such evil. Before the crime scene was even cleared, the politicians and special interest groups were climbing over each other grabbing headlines to assign blame and offer irrational ‘solutions’ that fit their political views above that of our own children’s safety. On one side of the political aisle are politicians who would have the public believe gun bans, whistles, and call boxes are the only solutions. Politicians on the other side of the aisle want the public to believe armed teachers are the best answer. Members of academia have advocated scraping the Constitution and have told their students to vomit or urinate on potential attackers. Not to be outdone by the stories they cover, even journalists were jumping into the political absurdity by defending ‘Gun Free Zones’ and advocating for the development of bunker-like environments for schools while publicizing businesses who are pushing Kevlar backpacks to alleviate parents’ fears. The ‘good idea fairy’ has unfortunately been making the rounds.

As local and national politicians continue to play the blame game and fail to offer relevant, common sense approaches, communities are naturally turning to their local Police Departments and Sheriffs Offices for reassurance that their children are protected in their schools. On the national level and the local level, the only proposal that seems to have a wide base of support from all political sides is having an increased police presence in our schools.

A December 18th, 2012 (post Sandy Hook) national Gallop poll showed a whopping 87 percent of adults feel ‘Increasing the police presence at schools’ would be either a “very effective” or “somewhat effective” approach to “preventing mass shootings”. A closer examination of the poll results indicated the consensus crosses political affiliation showing 55 percent of Republicans, 52 percent of Democrats, and 53 percent of Independents feel “Increasing the police presence in schools” would be “very effective” in “preventing mass shootings”. Other proposed solutions included the banning of assault and semi-automatic firearms, arming teachers, and increased government spending on mental health yet none of these enjoyed a consensus and each showed considerable political bias towards one party or another.

The concept of Police Officers in our schools is not a new one. The National School Resource Officer Association credits Flint, Michigan with the first deployment of a School Resource Officer in 1959. Over the years, the popularity and successes of the SRO program have grown and made it widely accepted among the general public as well as the Law Enforcement community. A 2006 study by Hickman and Reeves published in Western Criminology Review showed nationally “SRO programs were operational in an estimated 43 percent of local police departments and 47 percent of sheriff’s departments.” Given the current political scrum over various ‘answers’ to school shootings, the SRO program has been under a microscope and has still managed to be widely adopted and come out of the debate relatively clean from partisan politics.

The public has clearly decided that they overwhelming favor an increased police presence in our schools; however, does that necessarily mean that the expansion of SROs into every school is the best solution for school safety? Law Enforcement agencies know that it is not as easy as waving a magic wand to create not only hundreds of new SROs to be placed in every school, but the millions of dollars of funding it will take to hire, train, equip and retain these SROs. Politicians on both the local and federal level like to talk about additional funding for these programs, but there is little hope, with or without additional grant dollars, of increasing the SRO ranks without considering the massive amount of money that would be needed to fund such an expansion.

Presently there are no bills in front of the Colorado Legislature requesting funding specifically for SROs despite public support from numerous legislators. Colorado State Senator Steven King (R-Grand Junction) recently submitted the “School Resource Officer Programs in Public Schools” bill, SB13-138. A close examination of the bill reveals that it does not request any funding for anything. Rather than adding School Resource Officers to our schools, it only adds an SRO to the School Safety Resource Center’s Advisory Board and requires them to hire a full-time grant writer to help school districts apply for grants to be used for unspecified school safety uses.

If a legislator wanted to author a bill that would fund a SRO in every Colorado school, what would it look like? The most recent data from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment listed the average Colorado Police Officer salary at $59,791. According to the Colorado Department of Education there are 1,780 public schools, which if an SRO was placed in each of them, would cost a staggering annual total of $106,427,980. This astronomical amount does not include the $23,796,818 it would cost to provide the same protection to the 398 Colorado private schools would also benefit from an increased police presence. While placing an SRO in every school would significantly address the public’s plea of escalated police presence in educational institutions it is clearly not economically feasible.

Even if the money were available to fund such a project, it is still unlikely that an effective expansion of SROs would be possible. The SRO position is a unique and specialized assignment requiring a unique and special individual to fill it competently. Not every Police Officer can or even wants to be a SRO just as not every Police Officer can or wants to join K9 Units, SWAT Units, Motor Divisions or any other highly specialized unit. Even if an expansion of SROs to every school in Colorado were completely funded, there simply are not enough officers with the special skills that an SRO assignment would require.

During a January 13th, 2013 Wyoming Tribune Eagle interview when asked about expanding the Cheyenne Police Departments SRO program to elementary schools, former Avon (CO) Police Chief Brian Kozak (Currently Cheyenne, WY Police Chief) correctly noted “An added complication is that there wouldn’t be much traditional police work that an officer could do in an elementary school”. Even if criminal activity occurred amongst the students, beyond an armed response, there is little an SRO can do that a school administrator could not given the fact Colorado Revised Statute 18-1-801-Insufficient Age clearly states “No child under ten years of age shall be found guilty of any offense.” While an assigned SRO would still be able to quickly respond to violence, their daily police oriented work load would be minimal. “I believe that it is just as important to assign SROs to elementary schools, however their role would be vastly different than those in middle and high schools. The elementary school SRO would be more of an informal counselor and teacher. Of course they would take reports of child neglect and abuse and other crimes where children are the victims” says Sergeant Damon Vaz of the Aurora Police Department, who supervises their SRO Program. Acting as counselors and role models for youth is certainly important, however the elementary school SRO would find themselves very far removed from actual police work, and in the context of school safety, acting as little more than highly trained deterrents of external criminal activity. This begs the question, is this the best way to spend our limited resources? Likely, the answer is no.

If law enforcement agencies have decided to answer the public demand for increased police presence in the schools, but we have determined that the wisdom and funding needed to put an SRO in every school is unsustainable, what are we to do? How can we increase the time an officer spends on a school campus without affecting the budget or taking regular officers away from their regular duties during school visits?
Enter the substation. Thousands of agencies nationwide already employ substations. Despite their widespread use, the function of a substation varies widely from agency to agency. Some larger substations include detention cells, intox machines, interview rooms, and AFIS terminals. Others are slightly larger than a broom closet with a few computers to write reports. The locations of substations are as varied as their functions being placed anywhere from shopping malls to convenience stores.

Line level officers across the nation spend a considerable part of their day writing reports and filling out paperwork. Currently this takes place at either the police station, a substation, or in their patrol vehicles. From my experience working with numerous law enforcement agencies in Colorado, at least 30% to 40% of an Officer’s shift is spent completing reports, warrants, warrantless affidavits, citations, accident diagrams and returning phone calls and emails. Often times after a high call load day, an Officer may spend his/her entire shift completing paperwork.

That time could be better much better spent if it was completed at a substation on school grounds. A limited focus substation placed on school campuses that do not already have a dedicated SRO would maximize police presence in schools with little to no additional budget consequences. The amount of time Officers would be spending at the school substation would be the same amount of time they would already spend at a non-school substation, the Police Department, or parked in a quiet parking lot. That time would have the additional effect of placing a visible deterrent with parked police vehicles outside the school and it would drastically improve the chances that a Police Officer is on campus if an attack where to take place.

The school substation would have a limited but useful focus on paperwork and the clerical duties of police officers rather than suspect processing or equipment storage historically used in more traditional substations. This focus would keep potential costs low, as they would only require a small amount of space and a few computers, and it would reassure school districts that the police are not introducing criminal suspects or dangerous items to the school environment.

School districts are no less immune to limited budgets than Law Enforcement agencies. With many Colorado school districts already financially strapped, asking them to help fund a vast expansion of the SRO program to every school would likely be given the cold shoulder. However, a law enforcement agency willing to provide hours of officer presence for only the cost of a desk or two in the school office would undoubtedly get a much warmer response.

Budget sensitive law enforcement agencies will find that the school substations’ need for only limited equipment ensures low costs. The already low costs may be further reduced by relocating existing substations currently requiring commercial rent payments. Many departments could find additional savings by utilizing existing MDT’s for report writing thereby only needing a quiet place for the officer to sit down. I am confident the addition of a good coffee maker could entice officers to utilize these areas but in my experience officers need little motivation to make good use of a properly equipped substation. Over my law enforcement career it was clear the rank and file viewed substations as a sanctuary from excessive supervision endured at headquarters and preferred to complete their paperwork at the substation if given the opportunity.

The public mandate to prevent future Sandy Hook, Columbine, and Platte Canyon tragedies is loud and clear. Law enforcement agencies also have to meet the limited budgets provided by their county commissioners and city councils. Every agency, every school district, and every community has different needs, circumstances and fiscal environments. The school substation is not the magic wand solution for every agency and should not be used as a replacement for qualified School Resource Officers if funding is available. It should, however, be explored further as a viable option in light of current financial realities and the unlikelihood of them changing in the foreseeable future. School substations not only have little to no budgetary expenditures, but they squarely address what the public, with bipartisan support, has overwhelmingly expressed would be the most effective preventative measure. Before the ‘good idea fairy’ makes a visit to your agency, please consider the idea of school substations in your jurisdiction.

How To Choose A Fire Suppression System For Your Server Room, Data Center Or NOC

Looking to install a new fire suppression system? Replacing an old Halon system? Or, perhaps upgrading your old system? This can be a daunting task. Today, fire suppression systems come in a variety of chemical compounds, an array of both basic and sophisticated notification devices, and a variety of sizes. I will introduce you to the many dramatic changes passed by the National Fire Protection Association, due in large part to innovative firms searching for better and inexpensive ways to protect computers and other electronic equipment.

Innovation is usually the result of changes in the way business is conducted. Reasons why new and innovative fire suppression systems are being developed include the following:

  • Water sprinkler systems can cause catastrophic damage in a computer environment.
  • Older fire suppression systems may not be environmentally friendly.
  • Today’s computer server environment is much more compact. A significant increase in storage capacity alone has allowed a significant decrease in the amount of space required to house computer equipment, telecommunications, and server equipment.
  • Older systems and subsequent technologies may be too expensive to purchase and install.

The number of smaller companies has increased throughout the world, dictating a change in the way we protect our essential data and equipment. A significant number of firms lease space in office complexes. Over ninety percent of firms that lease space find it too expensive to purchase and install most systems. And, most firms do not want to install a system that becomes a permanent fixture which cannot be removed when a lease expires, additional space is required, or a firm needs to expand or downsize.

Now there is a way to replace older fire suppression systems, update existing equipment, replace sprinkler heads, and purchase the protection you need for your critical data and computer systems. Now you can increase or decrease a fire suppression system without a major expense. New systems can be uninstalled and reinstalled because they are not permanent fixtures. Your investment can travel with you just like your data center or server room equipment.

The evolution of fire detection and suppression systems has been dramatic. There are fire suppression agents that are toxic when inhaled and those that are certified “green.” You can choose from a clean agent gas, water or aerosol. Some systems require a floating floor and significant space to reside, while others mount on available wall space.

There are systems that require little cleanup (the clean agent gasses), and those that need a whole cleaning crew and a few days worth of elbow grease. That leads to – you guessed it – server down time. From minimal to extensive, in the case of even the smallest fire, some systems can leave you twiddling your thumbs until you are back in business. Next step – recharging your fire suppression system, and the time and costs associated with that process.

I hope to simplify things here. I have been advising companies on computer room fire suppression for many years. This first hand experience of selling fire suppression system solutions for most size rooms and enclosures has shown many firms the benefits of utilizing newer technology when protecting valuable assets.

Let’s start by summarizing the features of each type of automatic fire suppression system used in most data centers, NOCs and server rooms today. Then, I’ll get into specifics that you will want to consider before choosing fire suppression equipment and a fire suppression company.

First, Understand the Types of Fires You Could Encounter

The National Fire Protection Association has classified fires into four types, determined by the materials or fuel being burned:

Type A: Fires with combustible materials as its source, such as wood, cloth, paper, rubber, and many plastics

Type B: Fires in flammable liquids, oils, greases, tars, oil-base paints, lacquers, and flammable gases

Type C: Fires that involve electrical equipment

Type D: Fires with ignitable metals as its fuel source

In a typical server room fire, a combination of Types A, B and C can be found. An effective fire suppression system will be rated for all three types.

Often the source of a fire in a server room is not detected until after the fire has been extinguished. Therefore, installing a system that can handle A, B & C Types is a safeguard against an unexpected disaster.

Substances Used in Fire Suppression: Gas, Water and Aerosol

1. Gaseous or Clean Agent Fire Suppression

Gasses used in fire suppression systems are typically Halon, CO2 or environmentally-friendly clean agents such as Inergen. These gases do not extinguish a fire by smothering it, but rather by displacing oxygen or inhibiting a chemical reaction that is essential to the fire’s survival.

The popular fire suppressant Halon is so detrimental to the environment that both Europe and the United States banned manufacturing of the gas in 1995. It is mentioned here only because many Halon systems installed before the ban was enacted are still in operation.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) encourages the use of non-ozone depleting fire suppression agent alternatives, and in 1990, the US EPA established its Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) to evaluate new chemicals and technologies for the replacement of ozone depleting substances. As a result, many companies are installing alternative clean agents that are environmentally friendly.

Clean agents derive their name from the simple idea that they do not leave any residue after discharge. This feature makes them ideal for electronics and eliminates cleanup worries.

Another gas used in fire suppression, CO2, is harmful when inhaled at high concentrations (greater than 5% by volume, or 50,000 ppm). The current threshold limit value (TLV) or maximum level that is considered safe for healthy adults for an eight-hour work day is 0.5% (5,000 ppm). For this reason, your facility must be vacated before the system discharges.
Unlike CO2, Inergen is non-toxic. However, a discharge of Inergen results in an approximate 3% concentration of carbon dioxide. While initially breathable, it is recommended that the environment be evacuated. Since it is not a liquid under pressure, Inergen requires significant storage space. After a discharge, the environment becomes highly pressurized which could cause damage if not released in a timely manner.

Gas fire suppression systems typically consist of the agent (gas), agent storage containers, agent release valves, fire detectors and warning mechanisms, agent piping, and agent dispersion nozzles. With most gas agents, the environment must be pressurized in order to contain the agent. Installation is complex and costly, and the reward is realized only after discharge, as clean up is as simple as venting the room.

2. Water-Based Fire Suppression

Water Mist Fire Suppression Systems resulted from the evolution from standard sprinklers designed for flooding fires. Much lighter than their older counterpart, water mist systems are effective on Type A and B fires and result in less damage than traditional water-based systems. Still, water mist systems are not ideal for server rooms due to the Type C electrical fires common to this environment. Clean up and safety issues are also a concern when faced with wet or damp electronics. Although effective in the right situations, water mist systems must often be augmented with other fire suppression systems in order to ensure complete coverage in the event of a fire. After discharge, expect down time of a few weeks for a sprinkler system and less with water mist. Often with a sprinkler system, you are unable to take it with you if you are in a lease or are planning to move to new facilities. This could make a big difference in your consideration of a water-based system.

3. Aerosol Fire Suppression

The newest technology in fire suppression, Aerosol Extinguishing Technology, was officially approved and effective in 2005 by the National Fire Protection Association. A clean agent with no post combustion byproducts, aerosols such as the brand Aero-K do not replace the oxygen as CO2 does, do not produce Hydrofluoric Acid (HF) after the fire, and have no environmental impact.

The aerosol consists of ultra-fine particles that are expelled via generators. Upon discharge, the substance creates a fog of suspended particles. Non-toxic and non-corrosive, the agent remains suspended in the environment for up to 60 minutes, virtually eliminating any possibility of reignition. After discharge and a 10-minute hold time, clean up includes venting the room and a light dusting of the surfaces.

Unlike gaseous systems, which operate at pressure and often require extensive piping, aerosol generators are very cost effective to install and maintain and have minimal space and weight requirements. The generators that dispense the aerosol are available in a variety of sizes to accommodate any size environment.

Select A Fire Suppression System with Dependable Safety Features

Safety features can save time, money, equipment, and most importantly, lives. Here are some features that your fire suppression system must have in order to prevent either premature discharge or the opposite – activation delay – when a new fire is either noticed or accidentally started by human error.

Lock Out/Abort Switch –This feature is essential for instances when a service person is in the protected environment and creates smoke, for example from soldering. A lock out/abort switch lets you disable the system with a key to avoid an accidental discharge. Should a threatening fire start while the system is disabled, a worker can use a fire extinguisher for a localized fire or arm the system and use the manual pull station.

Manual Pull Station –If a fire is inadvertently started, or is noticed by someone in the room, the manual pull station allows for immediate discharge without waiting for the system to detect smoke.

Choose a Fire Suppression Company That Will Customize a System to your Unique Needs

Aside from superior customer service, look for a fire suppression company that will make your needs their top priority. The company that bids your fire detection and suppression installation will want to know the size of your room and particular characteristics of your room. This will determine the amount of agent, piping, system space and weight requirements.

A good fire suppression company will consider such factors as the length of time you expect to occupy your current space. If you intend to move within a few years, you’ll want to know if the system can be transferred to your new facility and reinstalled cost-effectively. Don’t forget to ask about the costs associated with recharging the system, should the system discharge.

You’ll also want to discuss how the system can be expanded if the size of your computer room increases due to growth. And, in the opposite scenario, will you be able to reduce the scale of the system if you downsize?

Each state, city, or municipality has a fire code that must be considered when evaluating the options. Some agencies require sprinklers and others will allow a clean agent system in lieu of sprinklers. Factors such as the type of building construction often impact the codes and requirements. Select a fire suppression installation company that asks all of the right questions about your fire code and other unique requirements such as UL certification for fire suppression equipment.

Fire Suppression Costs

Costs are typically estimated based on the size of the room. This determines the amount of agent needed to put out a fire as well as the equipment and delivery mechanisms required. The agent concentration levels differ depending on the class of fire expected. Make sure you ask about the costs of maintaining the system on a yearly basis and also the life expectancy of the agent/systems so that you are prepared should you need to update periodically for optimal effectiveness.

An Automatic Fire Suppression System Can Lower Your Insurance Premium

If you don’t currently have a fire suppression system, consider the insurance cost savings. Insurance companies sometimes offer a Loss Control Survey that, when completed, may offer rate reductions for installing a waterless or dry chemical fire suppression system. A call to your agent and some comparative shopping will give you an idea of what you’ll save – typically in the range of 10%-15%. Don’t forget to take the tax deduction. With a 10-year shelf life, a product such as Aero-K can be depreciated over its full useful life.