Area of Safe Refuge

As Courtney and I meandered through the Las Vegas airport with nothing better to do, we stumbled across this crazy door. We pointed, we laughed, and we sat for some time wondering what what in the heck could possibly be in a room marked “Area of Safe Refuge”. Was it a safe room for refugees? Was it a place where one could meditate and regain one’s “center” after a long and disturbing flight? Was it a place where you could run to and be safe if the dreaded police were chasing you? We remained unsure about what the room was used for, but we were 100% sure that we had to have a look inside. We sneaked up to it, and gently and stealthily (at lease as stealthily as you can in an airport full of people) opened the door and looked inside…

A ladder! A lousy, stinking ladder and absolutely NOTHING else! Well, we thought, maybe the last person who needed safe refuge was a roofer and they put the ladder in there to make him feel more at home… Who knows.

Anyhow, once I got to a place where I could access google, I looked it up, and it turns out that an “Area of Safe Refuge” is a place where disabled people can go in the event of a fire of other type of disaster to wait for assistance. They are located in areas that are very structurally sound, fireproofed, and unlikely to be damaged easily or crumble.

The Area of Safe Refuge, according to BS5588: part 8 is: “an area that is enclosed with a fire resisting construction (other than any part that is an external wall of a building) and served directly by a safe route to a storey exit, evacuation lift or final exit, thus constituting a temporary safe space for disabled people to await assistance for their evacuation”.

Hat Tip:

My PC is on Fire

Chris Abraham gave me some link love the other day, which is how I found his blog, and finally this animated music video about the woes of PC ownership and support. Thanks Chris!

The video is amusing, but the most important thing to me is that it was created with Blender, a 3D animation suite that I started using many years ago on FreeBSD and Linux. Not that I was ever good enough with it to create anything like this, but it’s very cool to see the things that other people are using it to create.

Gas Blending Disaster

I will never suggest that a person refrain from messing around with something because it is dangerous. I have always held the belief that given proper respect for the lives of those around them, people should be left free to do their best, or worse as the case may be.

That being said, this article about a diver who, while filling scuba tanks, more or less burned his house down with an oxygen fire really shows us why it is important to be careful when handling high pressure oxygen.

I guess this guy was blending NITROX and the line caught fire. He wasn’t able to get the tank shut down before the whole place went up in flames. From what the article tells us, he was blending the gas himself because he didn’t hold a cert for it, and couldn’t buy it at dive shops. I guess he’d also been known to boost steel tanks up to 4500 psi with pure oxygen.

There are a lot of people out there holding this as an example of why nobody should be blending their own gas. I think this mindset is ridiculous! I frequently blend my own NITROX and TRIMIX, but I’m constantly mindful about the presence of hydrocarbons and adiabatic heating. I can’t say I would boost pure oxygen to 4500 psi, but there is absolutely no reason that divers can’t safely handle high pressure oxygen and blend their own gasses.

Oxygen Fire

Oxygen Fire