How to Fireproof Your Cabling Using a Cable Management Strategy

Modern businesses utilize a wide array of electronic and IT equipment. Most businesses of any reasonable size will have a server room in which is housed the core of their computer network and their data centers. With such equipment inevitably come masses of interlinked cables, and inevitably an increased risk of fire.

Many fires, particularly in server rooms, start as a result of malfunctioning or overheated electronic equipment. Once started, these fires can quickly spread, causing destruction. Burning cables can add significantly to the danger through the toxic smoke generated by the rubber insulation and by the exposure of live electric wires. Furthermore, fires can start within the cabling itself, and so steps should be taken to safeguard against this and to slow the spread of any potential fire.

By developing a diligent and safety conscious cable management strategy, it is possible to mitigate these risks.

Developing a cable management strategy

Cable management is easiest when it is done right at the start during equipment installation. Cable routes should be well thought out and executed in a tidy and methodical manner, enabling easier management and lower fire and other associated risks.

Cable trays, baskets and cable trunking should then be used to organize and insulate the cables. Wherever possible, these cable management accessories should be fire resistant or otherwise minimize the risk of both fire spreading from the outside to the cable inside and from the cable inside to the exterior.

Cable trunking for fire proofing

A wide range of fireproofing solutions are available to businesses. Newlec cable trunking made from pre-galvanized steel is particularly effective at slowing or preventing the spread of fire due to the high heat tolerance and flame resistant nature of steel.

Other forms of cable trunking are made from PVC-U, a PVC derivative with specific flame-retardant properties. Unlike other plastics, PVC-U will only combust under the continued presence of an external heat source. When it does burn, its combustion temperatures are very low and so it does not contribute to fire and flame propagation significantly. PVC-U also generates very little smoke when it burns, a factor which can be crucible during an emergency building evacuation.

MK Electric Industrial Cable Trunking offers a versatile and easily installable cable management solution and measures 50mm high and 50mm wide, making it suitable for heavy duty applications. For less intensive applications, Marshall Tufflex Self-fixing Mini-trunking measures 16mm x 16mm, and features an innovative clip-on lid for easy configurations.

Plan ahead

By carefully choosing fireproof cable trunking and similar cable management systems, it is possible to be adequately protected against many of the risks of fire, and to less its potential impact.

When it comes to fire prevention and control, small things can make a big difference. For example, making sure that cable trunking is not overcrowded and has plenty of room for internal ventilation lessens the risk of heat build up within the cables, while keeping areas around cabling clean and free of debris minimizes the amount of combustible material which could propagate a fire.