The failure of a piece of switchgear (or more likely a single component contained within it) and the resulting fire have been put forward as the most likely cause of the power failure at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport last weekend.
As the world’s busiest airport, the outage affected more than 30,000 travelers, with passengers left in darkened terminals, on board grounded planes or diverted many miles away. The incident is believed to have been caused by an intense electrical underground fire at a Georgia Power substation that took two hours to contain.
According to Georgia Power, the fire rapidly spread and damaged multiple parts of the system. Although the airport had redundant systems in place, the extreme heat of the fire ultimately took the backup systems offline as well.
The reality is, of course, that this could have happened anywhere. Switchgear and other high and medium voltage components are found in every industry that uses electrical equipment. This unfortunate event at Hartsfield-Jackson isn’t unique to the airport; it is simply the most recent example that demonstrates how vital it is for all businesses to consider protecting their critical assets at the most practical level possible.
For some, this may require full room protection for the electrical spaces; for others in-cabinet suppression will offer the level of protection against fire and business interruption that’s commensurate with the operations.
We are proud to be the in-cabinet fire suppression choice for many critical facilities globally, including airport and other mass transit facilities. Installing a reliable fire suppression system such as Firetrace means a fire is detected and suppressed at the earliest possible stage. It significantly increases the chances of the fire – and therefore the damage – being contained to a single enclosure and often a single component; leaving companies with a lower cost repair and a dramatically less impactful event.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing, we know. But incidents like these really highlight the importance of proper fire hazard evaluation and, where relevant, proactively protecting business critical assets – no matter how small.
Firetrace offers a number of quality, cost-effective fire suppression solutions for any size enclosure. This targeted protection can prevent a small fire from escalating into a large fire, and keep your vital systems online and operations running normally – be that at an airport, a factory or a data center.