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>The question seems to be about the climate-control issue when the real
>point is that this (sounds like) a vital records to be protected against
>destruction by fire. That the vault is climate controlled--aren't they
>all?--is a bit incidental.


Well, in fact...NO.  Not all "vaults" are created equal.   If you read some
of the construction standards in NFPA, a vault can be construed as an
enclosure with a 4-hour fire rating with a door of equal rating.  It's
possible to achieve 4 hour protection with a variety of materials (layered
sheetrock, filled concrete blocks, etc.)  but in many of these instances
you aren't guaranteed the added benefits of climate control.  As we all
know, concrete is a porous material and if a fire takes place in a record
center with a concrete vault and the sprinklers properly deploy, the water
that runs over the heated concrete will create steam which will penetrate
the concrete and raise the humidity level in the interior of the vault to a
point where there isn't adequate humidity control provided to the contents.

A REAL VAULT, especially one used to house and protect microfilm and
electronic media should be constructed out of materials impervious to
steam, protected by a gaseous based fire protection system (such as FM-200)
that is internal to the vault and have adequate backup electrical power to
deploy the protectant when needed. It should be alarmed and supported by a
ventilation system with one-way louvers and heat-activated dampers, be free
standing and have nothing stored above it.

There's a "guy" who hangs out around here that can give you much more
information about what a vault is and isn't, but BELIEVE me, not all
enclosures referred to as "vaults" are created equal.  Hopefully, this is
an issue than can be addressed in greater detail in the future in the NFPA
Standards.

Larry

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