Dan Brown - Digital Fortress book

David Shaw dshaw at jabberwocky.com
Thu Jan 15 16:43:32 CET 2009

On Thu, Jan 15, 2009 at 09:52:00AM -0500, Robert J. Hansen wrote:
> markus reichelt wrote:
> > Not all Freon would be converted into Phosgene and I'd guess the
> > firefighters wore gas masks thus limiting the exposure (they know
> > about the Freon?)
> First responders -- the people in the office who rush to the fire armed
> with fire extinguishers -- don't wear respiratory equipment.  This is
> why data centers don't use Freon; in case of fire, it's hazardous to the
> people evacuating and especially to the people who are trying to slow
> the fire's spread.

Possibly Dan Brown used "freon" where he should have used "halon".  It
wouldn't be the first mistake in that book.  Not that halon doesn't
have its own dangers - the whole point of a gas fire supression system
is that it displaces or removes oxygen.  Which both humans and fires
are rather fond of...

I believe Halon is banned now (at least in the US) because of ozone
layer concerns, but there are some older systems that were
grandfathered in that are still in use.

Still, to give Dan Brown the benefit of the doubt, I've heard many
fire supression gases referred to as "Freon", whether they were or
not.  Freon is really a marketing catchall name for a lot of different
gases, some of which were actually used for fire supression before we
saw what they were doing to the ozone layer.


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