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Firefighting, Emergency Electrical Isolation, First Aid in ur Vintage Computer Room

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Quote Originally Posted by inotarobot View Post
Hello all,

Trust everyone on VCF is well and enjoying this hobby.

I am starting this 'Safety' focus thread, to discuss and ask, what each of you are doing about protecting both yourself, your family (if your computer room is part of your house) and your collection.

Want this to be an ACTIVE input thread, not simply a READ thread, so I implore those that generally just read here on VCF, to think and ADD a reply saying what they are doing in regards to this topic. Ok you may not, or do not, consider you have any risks in your collection; but most of our computers are getting old, and we all find at times we need to answer the call of Nature in the middle of running a machine; so we leave it unattended for a few minutes. Will it behave or catastrophically fail while we are gone ?

Areas I wish to raise are Smoke detection, Firefighting, Emergency Electrical Isolation, First Aid, Call assistance if working alone and Heavy Equipment moving - in your Vintage Computer Room / Electronics room.

Some or many of you, may have read, that I have recently built myself a transportable computer room. Its 6m by 3.5m with 2.5m ceiling, and I am about to embark on next stage of adding AC and DC power distribution, smoke detection and firefighting gear to room.

My Computer room is remote of our house, and is a 3 min walk down the hill, so when I am in it, I will rely on my own intelligence ("read that as stupidity" quoting my other half); to stay safe and unharmed. Some of you may know, I recently had 8 stitches to first finger on RH hand, while moving heavy (+50kg) computer bits into the new room (working while tired and hurrying to beat encroaching dark and bad weather was a major factor)

So without further rambling, I will kick off, and will try to cover the points as clearly as my Australian language skills will let me.

After I started writing this topic, I realize this topic can have a lot of detail; so probably I should create separate thread's or maybe just specific posts under this thread covering :-

SMOKE DETECTION What type do you have ? a. cheap photoelectric one with dead battery ? b. ionization style one ?
and standalone or wired to house alarms ? What you have a solar powered Raspberry Pi with ir camera and fire detection i/o connected to a mobile phone, to let you know the state of your room.. wow !!!!!

FIRE : What sort of Fire Extinguisher do you have in room ? What you DONT have one ??? For those that do, is it charged, or maybe beyond its use by date ? Is it the correct type for electrical fires ? Do you have a fire blanket, as a first line of defense ?

EMERGENCY ELECTRICAL ISSOLATION Numerous reasons why you may urgently wish to isolate the power in your vintage computer room/electronics room. Hopefully the primary one is NOT that you are being electrocuted and are screaming for someone to turn power off.

If this is case can a family member see a BIG red POWER OFF Isolator/disconnector button by the door, that they can Instantly press to turn off all power to room.

Or do they have to try and get past you, without themselves getting 'caught' to turn power off ?? Have you previously discussed with them emergency isolation to your area ?

Important point here is if they feel quickest time saving solution is to turn off power to house, will that leave you suddenly in total darkness ?
I personally know how bad that is, having in my teens, been caught on live power and having a family member turn off main power switch of house, plunging room into TOTAL darkness. To this day 50 years later, I cannot cope with going from a lit room to total darkness in one step.

Maybe its a good idea to add an emergency battery light to ceiling ? Add it next to the smoke detector, you DO HAVE already fitted !

FIRST AID Do you have first aid kit in your computer room, or in a room nearby ? How complete is it ? Are the contents fresh ?

CALL ASSISTANCE Areas to discuss here are if your working alone, can you easily call for help, NOT just call the kids to bring you a coffee or tea ?

HEAVY EQUIPMENT MOVING, Ok many of you have easily lifted computers, but even a desktop pc can get damn heavy, when your climbing a ladder to put it on an upper shelf.

Or for us 'stupid' enough to collect the heavy iron vintage gear, that has hard drives in the 50kg weight bracket; what do you do to lift or move these very heavy items ?

Do you have friends or family that you can ask to assist in moving bits around ? Ok some of us are getting a bit too mature to be moving, what we happily lifted in our youth.

So over to each and EVERY one of you to reply and contribute.


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  1. Raddit123's Avatar
    I've never really thought about this to be honest...

    Smoke detection: one of those alpha radiation ones in the next room.
    Fire extinguisher: none, unless you count running to the nearest sink with a cup.
    First aid: I think I have a tube of Savlon in a draw from when I was at uni?
    Call assistance: I always have my iPhone in my pocket
    Heavy equipment: everything is on ground level.

    Ok, so having reviewed this - not great on my behalf, great post though; a real eye opener! In my defence, if I'm not I'm not in the room, it's not running is my general approach! I had a friend who had p4 computer some one gave him, this was probably around 2008, any way several caps went on the motherboard. Big dent in the side of the case and the room smelt like electrical fire for the next 6 months...