Control room

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For the documentary film, see Control Room (film).

A control room or operations center or operations control center (OCC) is a room serving as a central space where a large physical facility or physically dispersed service can be monitored and controlled.

Overview[edit]

A control room is a room for production control, and it serves as a central space where a large physical facility or physically dispersed service can be monitored and controlled. These kind of central control rooms came into general use in factories during the 1920s.[1]

Control rooms for vital facilities are typically tightly secured and inaccessible to the general public. Multiple electronic displays and control panels are usually present, and there may also be a large wall-sized display area visible from all locations within the space. Some control rooms are themselves under continuous video surveillance and recording, for security and personnel accountability purposes.

Many control rooms are manned on a "24/7/365" basis, and may have multiple people on duty at all times, to ensure continuous vigilance. Other more special-purpose control room spaces may be temporarily set up for special projects, and closed or dismantled once the project is concluded.

Examples of control rooms[edit]

The control room concept is also used in non-emergency contexts:

Special hazards and mitigation[edit]

See also: Area of refuge

Control rooms are usually equipped with elaborate fire suppression and security systems to safeguard their contents and occupants, and to ensure continued operation in emergencies. In hazardous environments, the control room may also serve as an area of refuge for personnel trapped onsite. The rooms are typically crammed with equipment, mounted in multi-function rack mount cabinets to allow updating. The dense concentration of equipment often requires special electrical uninterruptible power supply (UPS) feeds and air conditioning.

Since the control equipment is intended to control other items in the surrounding facility, these (often fire-resistance rated) service rooms require many penetrations for cables. Due to routine equipment updates these penetrations are subject to frequent changes, so that a control room maintenance program must include vigilant firestop maintenance for code compliance.

Due to the nature of the sensitive equipment inside control room cabinets, it is useful to ensure the use of "T-rated" firestops, that are massive and thick enough to resist heat transmission to the inside of the control room. It is also common to place control rooms under positive pressure ventilation to prevent smoke or toxic gases from entering. If used, gaseous fire suppressants must occupy the space that is to be protected for a minimum period of time to be sure a fire can be completely extinguished. Openings in such spaces must, therefore, be kept to a minimum to prevent the escape of the suppression gas.

A mobile control room is designated as particularly in high risk facilities, such as a nuclear power station or a petrochemical facility.[further explanation needed] It can provided a guaranteed life support for the anticipated safety control.

In popular culture[edit]

Control room scenes dealing with crisis situations appear frequently in thriller novels and action films. In addition, a few documentaries have been filmed with scenes in real-life control room settings.

  • The China Syndrome - a 1979 American thriller film that tells the story of a television reporter and her cameraman who discover safety coverups at a nuclear power plant. It stars Jane Fonda, Jack Lemmon and Michael Douglas, with Douglas also serving as the film's producer.
  • Control Room (film) - a 2004 documentary film about Al Jazeera and its relations with the US Central Command (CENTCOM), as well as the other news organizations that covered the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
  • Fail-Safe (1964 film) - a 1964 Cold war thriller film directed by Sidney Lumet, based on the 1962 novel of the same name by Eugene Burdick and Harvey Wheeler. It portrays a fictional account of a Cold War nuclear crisis.
  • Minority Report (film) - a 2002 American neo-noir science fiction thriller film directed by Steven Spielberg and loosely based on the short story of the same name by Philip K. Dick. It is set primarily in Washington, D.C., and Northern Virginia in the year 2054, where "PreCrime", a specialized police department, apprehends criminals based on foreknowledge provided by three psychics called "precogs".
  • The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974 film) - a 1974 American thriller film directed by Joseph Sargent, produced by Edgar J. Scherick, and starring Walter Matthau, Robert Shaw, Martin Balsam and Héctor Elizondo. Peter Stone adapted the screenplay, from the 1973 novel of the same name by Morton Freedgood (under the pen name John Godey) about a group of criminals taking hostage for ransom the passengers of a busy New York City subway car.
  • The Prisoner - a 17-episode British television series, which follows a British former secret agent who is abducted and held prisoner in a mysterious coastal village resort where his captors try to find out why he abruptly resigned from his job.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bennett, S. (1993). A History of Control Engineering 1930-1955. London: Peter Peregrinus Ltd. On behalf of the Institution of Electrical Engineers. ISBN 0-86341-280-7. 

External links[edit]