What’s Trending in Fire Protection? Fireline’s David Taylor Tells Tough Truths about Protecting Data Center Assets

BALTIMORE, MD The Fireline Corporation is a Maryland corporation founded in 1947 by John S. Waters. As a pioneer in the fledgling fire equipment distribution business, John Waters soon saw the benefits of offering exemplary service and high quality products at a fair price. Fireline has lived by this standard for more than 60 years and the tradition continues today. Fireline grew into one of the nation’s premier fire equipment distributors during the 1950’s and quickly took on new and innovative products as they became available. In the 1960’s, Fireline was one of the first companies to promote the use of multi-purpose dry chemical extinguishers and kitchen hood and duct fire suppression systems. In the late 1960’s, Fireline became a Pyrotronics fire alarm distributor and a Fenwal Halon 1301 distributor. These manufacturers, and many more fire alarm systems oriented product lines are still sold by Fireline. Below, we connected with Fireline’s Director of Business Development, David Taylor, to learn more about the latest in the world of fire protection and what the data center industry should know.

CAPRE: Why are clients picking up the phone to call Fireline?

Taylor: We’re getting a lot of inquiries to renovate first generation data centers. I’ll never be someone who claims to be an IT or computer guy, but we know fire protection. And as these first-generation data centers approach 20-25 years of age, they have a lot of older fire protection equipment. So we’re getting a lot of inquiries to come in and look into it, renovate.

CAPRE: What are some of the specific issues?

Taylor: There’s in many cases software that’s not compatible with replacement hardware. Or we’re seeing that if there’s a gas suppression agent, they might want to move to water mist or pre-action, where applicable.

CAPRE: Why is this happening now? How is this different from what you were seeing maybe a year ago?

Taylor: Well in Northern VA, there’s always been a tremendous amount of new construction. But as some of these older data centers change hands, there are new owners, they’re looking into fire protection. These data centers don’t have an unlimited shelf life. They need to upgrade – HVAC, switches, etc all have a shelf life. So if you want to protect those assets, you need to do fire protection upgrades.

CAPRE: What new trends in the fire protection space are you most excited about?

Dave Taylor, Director of Business Development, Fireline

Taylor: I’m very excited about newer technologies in fire protection. Water mist, hybrid water mist, these products are allowing data center operators to have fire protection and protect themselves against property damage. It allows for fire protection without worry about water damage – and what is discouraging is that we often see complacency in the data center industry about fire protection.

CAPRE: Why is there such complacency?

Taylor: Incidents aren’t widely reported, for various reasons. No one wants to be the guy that says we had a fire or even a pipe break, since water is also scary. They’re selling reliability. It’s very hard to compile good data on the incidents that do occur. Sometimes the stories are published, but it’s hard to find good info on what really happens. And things do happen. So don’t be complacent.

CAPRE: What’s the bottom line here?

Taylor: The takeaway is to consider the cost of long-term ownership. not just the cost of installation. There are some products out there that have a large up-front cost, but that end up being significantly less expensive over time due to ease of maintenance & reliability.

CAPRE: Got it. Thanks for your time, David!

Dave Taylor is Director of Business Development for Fireline, where he focuses on building the Fireline brand with interactive marketing strategies as well as overseeing and driving new client acquisition. A native of College Park, MD, Taylor graduated from Salisbury University with a Bachelors of Arts in 1984. He began selling in the fire protection industry in 1986 and gained experience with fire suppression and alarm systems, particularly in nuclear power plant applications. An active fire fighter from 1984 to 2000 with the Berwyn Heights, MD Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad, Inc., Taylor has a variety of experience within the fire and life safety industry. With Fireline since 2008, Taylor has used his industry knowledge to oversee the development of the service sales staff and focus on building strategic initiatives of growth for the company.

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