|This article needs additional citations for verification. (September 2010)|
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.
|This section requires expansion. (June 2013)|
Central control rooms came into general use in factories during the 1920s.
|This section requires expansion. (April 2013)|
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.
- Nuclear power plants and other power-generating stations, many oil refineries and chemical plants
- Major transportation facilities, such as bridges, tunnels, canals, airports, and rapid transit systems, may have 24-hour manned control rooms to monitor and report on traffic congestion, and to respond to emergencies
- Various military facilities, ranging in scale from a missile silo to NORAD. The term "operations room" is also used.
- NASA flight controllers work in a "flight control room" in a mission control center; affiliated facilities such as the Jet Propulsion Laboratory have their own control rooms;
- Call centers use a control room to monitor incoming and outgoing communications of customer service representatives, and to provide general oversight of the call center.
- Fire service control rooms (UK). See: FiReControl for article about nine new regional control rooms to handle emergency calls in England.
- Computerized data centers, which often serve remote users in multiple time zones worldwide
- Network operations centers
- Large institutions, such as universities, hospitals, major research facilities (such as particle accelerator laboratories), high security prisons, and theme parks
- Metropolitan police or special security jurisdictions
The control room concept is also used in non-emergency contexts:
- In television production, the master control is the technical hub of a broadcast operation common among most over-the-air television stations, television networks and color suites.
- Sound recording studios typically each have their own control rooms where the recording is actually made
Special hazards and mitigation
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
||This section is in a list format that may be better presented using prose. (April 2013)|
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
- Control Room (film)
- Fail-Safe (1964 film)
- Minority Report (film)
- The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974 film)
- The Prisoner
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Control rooms.|