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Abandoned Cables and the Risks They Bring

Commonly hidden in ceiling plenum spaces is data cabling that is hazardous and could become a lethal threat in the event of a fire. In most cases, new cabling is routinely added on top of old cabling in order to quickly solve networking problems, resulting in what is known as abandoned cable. Not dealing with this issue correctly could lead to a disastrous and costly outcome.

It has been estimated that six billion feet of cabling has been installed in Canadian buildings’ plenum spaces and that a large portion of that has been abandoned. The older the cabling the greater the risk for health and safety, as they are more likely to be toxic. Some of these substances, such as lead, can separate from the sheathing as time passes and possibly endanger the health of occupants or cause environmental contamination.

The National Fire Code mandates the removal of abandoned cables that are in plenum spaces. These spaces may become a pathway for a fast spreading fire, where the path of the flame may be hidden due to furniture and an unmapped cable line. Failure to comply with code could lead to denial of permits or renewals. Insurance companies can also use this to their benefit and claim non-compliance in the event of a disaster -not to mention the personal injury that could happen to the property owner or occupants.

The risks of housing such a complex infrastructure often get overlooked, and it is the responsibility of the building owner or manager to be aware of these hazards in order to put a comprehensive risk prevention plan in place.

Activo can conduct an audit to assess the extent of abandoned cabling in your building and develop a removal plan. We can manage the difficult and resource intensive removal process and help you put together a proper cabling and networking solution specifically designed for your business.

Call us today with any questions or to set up your assessment.

(Image Courtesy Of: Riddle_)

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