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Sp@ce_d

Fire and Theft: How can we avoid it and stay safe?

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There is nothing that is 100% secure.

Secure environments factor in the following:

* Layers - like an onion

* Time to get past each layer equates to a longer time to detect

* Effective detection at each layer

* Action on detection

* Defence against disablement

So starting with your fence, then the space between the fence and the obsy, then the obsy, then the space within the obsy (i.e. locked away components), then the larger stuff itself.

On the disablement - ensuring that wires are not accessible, that having multiple ways to detect and that disabling one doesn't cause a failure of the the other detectors - i.e. pressure pads and sensors that don't go to an easily disabled point.

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There are possibly two methods that can be used to put out a fire without using water. (To not cause damage to equipment).

Halon and CO2.

Some years ago when at sea as an engineer we had Halon as the fire fighting extinguishing medium. At that time we were informed at the course we attended for these new ships, that Halon was completely safe. We were told that you could walk through an enginroom filled with it to check it had put out the fire.

So being a curious person I did a lot of checking upon Halon. At that time there was no internet!

It took several months to get the details about Halon. Yes it does put out fires. It is used at a concentration of about 4% in the atmosphere. This is because of cost and is the optimum for fire suppression.

But what had not been mentioned on the course was that Halon in the presence of flame produces Phosgene Gas, (Mustard Gas). At that time it was also not known that at concentrations above 4% that it was dangerous to humans even without any flame present. You can die as it is then a poison.

It has been mentioned here that the preferred method of fighting a fire in the observatory is CO2.

To extinguish a fire with CO2 you will need to flood the area with about 40% of its volume for CO2 to work. To accomplish this you must seal the area to contain the CO2 for several, and possibly even tens of minutes. This is to 1) extinguish the fire. 2) allow the item/s to cool so as not to reignite when air is allowed to re enter the area.

It will be very hard to seal an observatory before using CO2! By that time the fire will be beyond your control.

If a fire starts and you are there CO2 can be tried if it is caught before it has really got hold. BUT please just ring 999 and get proper help.

You only live once. Possessions can be replaced!

Derek

Edited by Physopto
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I am just about to install a security system into my dome but I have a question, is it better to have the alarm box on the outside for a visible deterrent or inside because if anyone can stay inside a dome with 130db going off in their ear they are a better man than  me. There will also be a 1500W strobe should we say "happening". Any ideas would be welcome!

Regards

Mike

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I am just about to install a security system into my dome but I have a question, is it better to have the alarm box on the outside for a visible deterrent or inside because if anyone can stay inside a dome with 130db going off in their ear they are a better man than  me. There will also be a 1500W strobe should we say "happening". Any ideas would be welcome!

Regards

Mike

Hi Mike.. Well, it's a dome so already "vulnerable" as it's pretty obvious what it is..  you cant really disguise it to attract less attention like a shed. So, if it were me, I'd tend to do both... and more.

I'd want to deter by making it obvious that security was taken seriously and multiple measures were in place.

I'd try and make it as physically hard/annoying & time consuming to break in as possible, giving you more time to respond to detection by the above mentioned obvious (and hidden non obvious) security measures.

Once they're in I'd make their stay as unpleasant ( and surprising  :evil: ) as possible.

Once they've gone you'll want to have some nice snaps & video of their foolhardy escapade to parade on "You've been framed", "CrimeWatch" or < "insert your favourite social media here" >

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Since this thread is about fire and theft, it might be worth noting that people (me, especially) tend to worry about the wrong things.

We recently suffered a "small" grass fire. The 20 or so fire dept. people who attended were not at all impressed.

post-651-0-64563300-1437572324.jpg

which in a place that got less than a foot of rain last year and has been in drought for the past 18 months is not that uncommon.

Fortunately no-one was hurt and apart from some minor property damage (satellite dishes, firewood) nothing was lost.

Since I was already in the process of reconsidering and rebuilding my observatories, anyway, this too has given me cause for a great deal of thought.

I am now firmly of the opinion that people who live in areas of fire-risk should invest in one of these:

post-651-0-75413700-1437572511.jpg

and keep it handy all the time.

Although I am still using wooden sheds (of the roll-off kind) as observatories, mainly because they are inconspicuous and cool down from daily temperatures of 45°C quickly, there are some precuations that I am building in to the second generation.

These amount to clearing the surrounding area of anything flammable: plants, trees, bushes (though the fire did quite a good job of this).

Consider fire-retardant paint on all wooden surfaces.

Have a large bucket of water handy at all times. I'm thinking of about 10 tonnes of water in a tank nearby (not for swimming in or watering the plants from).

Fire and smoke detectors. Lots of smoke detectors. Everywhere.

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One point to note about any alarm box that is accessible is that thieves just use expanding foam to squirt into the alarm box before breaking in, then the alarm is useless. Visible is OK, but have a backup system that is hidden. Use different power supplies for each. i.e. battery driven backup also hidden. Also more than one if at all possible. Flood lights with video recordings as the try to leave. I was told by the police some time ago when a car was damaged in my front path, that the recording has to stand up in court, in other words be extremely obvious that it was the thief ( High Definition). The officer told me most recordings are disputed and they get off with it. Short of nailing them to the ground in the process of the theft it is almost impossible to get a conviction these days. You might even get done for hurting their ears and eyesight if using very loud alarms and very bright flashing lights. (human rights?).

Better to make it as unobtrusive/hidden as possible and extremely hard to get into!

Life isn't fair to the honest these days.

Derek

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It doesn't really matter how hi-tech alarm systems etc are, a good 90% of dwelling and non-dwelling burglaries are done by the crudest means possible. Your house/shed/observatory etc can be covered by the most up to date alarms and CCTV system, however it means nothing to someone obscuring their face with a hoody who is happy to throw a brick through your window or smash a roof off with a spade and climb in and help themselves unless challenged. Big, heavy specialist items such as scopes and mounts won't be too appealing unless they think they can shift them quickly. By all means keep things locked up to deter opportunists, but I would never spend a fortune on CCTV and high-tech locks.

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Personally I wonder if a dome "advertising" astronomy stuff may be less appealing to a thief than a shed "advertising" garden tools. I would imagine that it's far easier to sell a £200 petrol chainsaw that a weird lump of astro kit with half the bits missing. Astronomers tend to be a fairly tight knit community so whilst telescopes may be theoretically valuable I doubt they're easy to pass on and given that they're serial numbered, it's very high risk to steal and sell one - perhaps not that much of a concern to the druggie but to Honest Joe's ask no questions second hand goods emporium it might be? 

Secure it as best you can and remember bigger aperture is harder to steal, so the upgrade to a 24" can be justified on security grounds :D

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I have a sign over my obsy door 'FIFI - the demented Bull Mastiff with ADHD and PMT lives here.' :happy7:

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my deterent, fair play to them they have always let me know when someones aboutand not afraid to show their teeth

untitled-2.jpg

untitled-4.jpg

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My tip is, don't post pictures of your obsy with down to the arc second gps coordinates displayed somewhere in the photo... 

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On 7/13/2011 at 20:57, cgarry said:

One good idea is not to post your exact long and lat on this forum along with a list of all your expensive kit.

Cheers,

Chris

 

On 7/13/2011 at 21:10, Psychobilly said:

Another good one maybe not go into too much detail of what "measures" you have installed :D

Precisely....

 

Another option is to connect a 20kV high volt transformer output to the handle... please allow the intruder to complete that circuit... ;-)

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4 hours ago, MarsG76 said:

My tip is, don't post pictures of your obsy with down to the arc second gps coordinates displayed somewhere in the photo... 

You hit the nail on the head there brown Dwarf, I posted photos of my equipment and observatory a few months back after using my phone to take the photos and someone on here downloaded the photos and sent me my address in a message, was not a happy bunny.  That is all now changed and security upgraded.

Jim

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4 hours ago, JimT said:

You hit the nail on the head there brown Dwarf, I posted photos of my equipment and observatory a few months back after using my phone to take the photos and someone on here downloaded the photos and sent me my address in a message, was not a happy bunny.  That is all now changed and security upgraded.

Jim

Major security breach...

astronomy forums are great for thieves to go target hunting... we all love to show off, not just, our photos, experiences at the eye piece but also our hard worked for gear we acquired over time...

all a thief needs to do is wait for a slip up where they get a few gps coords, note down few  user profile names and wait until a user posts something like "I'm going to the south of France for a week to some dark skies. I can't take my proper Astro gear due to weight restrictions so I can only take my portable..." and JACKPOT... user darkmatter at coords 48.0673299 12.8633177 is giving me a week to harvest his gear for my addiction hit..

the user comes back from his France holiday to keep repeating the coords location name...

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Yes your right BD, lesson learnt after quite a shock, I now make sure any photos on this forum have been cleansed of any info  :)

Jim

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19 minutes ago, JimT said:

Yes your right BD, lesson learnt after quite a shock, I now make sure any photos on this forum have been cleansed of any info  :)

Jim

So... are you going on a holiday any time soon? ;-) ha ha joking...

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My experience is that if they want to nick it they will. My friend is a sculpter and uses a lot of copper and bronze, he buried it all 3 feet underground in a field, they dug it up and nicked all of it!

My opinion is to keep things to yourself about what your doing, don't advertise that you have expensive equipment knocking around. Keep it indoors and wheel it out in the dark is the best bet. I was going to build a proper observatory but have had second thoughts because of advertising what is in it.

Some people are either after your money or what they can nick from you.

I'm beginning to think the best way around all of this astronomy lark, with all the cost involved in equipment, is to subscribe to professional telescopes. In the long run I think it is much more efficient, cost effective and less risky on the theft side.

 

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Posted (edited)

I wonder how many keep serial numbers on a database? One good thing about our hobby, is that it's quite niche. If stolen stuff comes up for sale, it's likely to be easliy spotted. There are only so many places to sell our type of kit.

Many years ago, we were burgled. I had an expensive saxophone and, though they opened the case and saw the shiney thing, they clearly thought that it would be hard to pawn, so took a small amount of cash, and a phone instead.

Edited by Ama Noody
I type like a dork.

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I often think a big label saying 'Septic Tank' might be a deterrent...

:Dlly

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36 minutes ago, ollypenrice said:

I often think a big label saying 'Septic Tank' might be a deterrent...

:Dlly

Perfect, followed by 'snake pit', and then by a full assortment of Raiders of the Lost Ark style obstacles to negotiate :thumbright:

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Posted (edited)

Here's an idea, do what the animals do. p155 around the observatory and mark your territory. This should keep the opportunists away :p

Edited by souls33k3r

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, souls33k3r said:

Here's an idea, do what the animals do. p155 around the observatory and mark your territory. This should keep the opportunists away :p

I think my observatories are in multiple ownership, then. There's a badger, a local dog, two cats and a fox making claims this way - though the fox uses a slightly different kind of marker... 

:eek:lly

Edited by ollypenrice
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5 minutes ago, ollypenrice said:

I think my observatories are in multiple ownership, then. There's a badger, a local dog, two cats and a fox making claims this way - though the fox uses a slightly different kind of marker... 

:eek:lly

But you're the Alpha ;)

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22 minutes ago, ollypenrice said:

though the fox uses a slightly different kind of marker... 

Eeeeeewww........I think I know his UK Cousin!

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