Smoke Detectors in IT Closets?

Q: Do IT closets require a smoke detector no matter the size?

A: If the IT closet is in the healthcare occupancy (hospital), and under normal circumstances, there is no Life Safety Code requirement to have a smoke detector in the IT closet, regardless of the size.

Now, there may be other requirements that may necessitate a smoke detector in an IT closet, such as:

  • Compensating measures for an equivalency;
  • To meet the requirement for a fully smoke-detected building required for delayed egress locks;
  • If the door to the IT closet was held open by a magnetic device that releases the door when the fire alarm system is activated;
  • When state or local codes requires a smoke detector.

If you’re thinking the IT closet is a hazardous area and a smoke detector should be installed: That is not a requirement. Sections 18/19.3.2.1 do not define an IT closet as a hazardous area, and smoke detection is not a requirement for hazardous area. Even if the IT closet qualified as a hazardous area due to combustibles stored in the room, you still do not need a smoke detector.

On the other hand, a smoke detector in an IT closet can provide early warning of a fire, so you may want to consider one.