Layouts and Safety

Joe Daddy May 16, 2008

  1. friscobob

    friscobob Staff Member

    10,474
    311
    126
    I have a 2-inch layer of foam on the HCD layout, with wire track drops running thru it to the sides (those will later be covered with a Masonite front). The wiring's insulation is good, and no bare metal can be seen on the wires. Also, no sharp metal spots are anywhere near the wiring. X-Acto knives, the Dremel, and small, sharp metal pieces are out of the way & inaccessible to the cats, dog, and nosy humans.

    I've learned a few lessons (some the hard way- wanna see the scars??) about hobby safety, and since the layout is in our bedroom, I make darn sure it's safe to keep. I can and should be able to take responsibility for my own personal safety and that of my family without outside inspectors, so I handle such things myself.
     
  2. Midnight Railroader

    Midnight Railroader TrainBoard Member

    112
    0
    13
    Good, because I deal with regulation enough every day as it is, and I wouldn't want my layout to be "inspected." I think asking for voluntary inspections can only lead to a very slippery slope that I think we don't need.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 18, 2008
  3. ctxm

    ctxm TrainBoard Member

    377
    0
    12
    Take care but don't get paralyzed with fear. Houses are full of toxic materials so an extra sheet of foam sitting in the room is only adding a bit to the fire. The best course of action is to be away when your house burns down! With normal care a layout is no more likely to catch fire than yesterdays newspaper or your recycle bin. Fire proof houses are not much fun to live in so we learn to be careful......dave
     
  4. Siskiyou

    Siskiyou In Memoriam

    481
    1
    14
    "Locked?"

    Last night, I looked for a recent, controversial thread. When I looked, I couldn't find it among "Recent Posts," and it took (this newbie) some time to find it.

    With all respect for our Administrators (I'm very grateful for all your help), I have to ask if there are Forum policies or guidelines that allow threads or posts to be access-controlled. I'm a little concerned that we won't always agree on what's "bad" or "good." Kinda like trying to decide who to vote for...

    Scott
     
  5. ctxm

    ctxm TrainBoard Member

    377
    0
    12
    True, I always think a moderators who lock posts would lock ballot boxes if given the chance. Some people are not happy unless their way is the only way, luckily we can vote them out in the real world but in discussion groups we are sometimes stuck with it. In the end it works out because a censored site soon becomes stagnant and new sites take over.......dave
     
  6. Ed M

    Ed M Passed away May 2012 In Memoriam

    1,836
    178
    30
    I'm not sure what thread in particular you were looking for. The post of mine that you quoted was not referring to a thread locked here on TrainBoard, but was in response to the OP's comment about a thread that had been locked over on one of the Trains.com forums.

    The staff members here (Administrators and Moderators) will tend to lock threads if the thread has deteriorated into a flame war (actually, we will usually lock it before it gets to that level), or if the general tone of the posts show that the thread has wandered off the original topic and appears headed into a non-useful argument. We'll often delete individual posts (such as for personal attacks) if the general tone of the thread seems to be on track, rather than locking the whole thread.

    Yup, we're not always going to agree on what's bad. That's why the staff generally discusses problem threads among ourselves off the main forum before taking the decision to lock them.

    Don't know if that answered your question or not.

    Regards

    Ed
    .
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 18, 2008
  7. COverton

    COverton TrainBoard Member

    1,905
    74
    32
    We do the same over on trains.com forums. There are some instances where locking an entire thread is the only sensible thing to do, but sometimes there are merely ominous signs that suggest a very close watch at the least. In that case, we post a warning in our private forum so that others can look in and offer an opinion. None of us likes to be heavy-handed, and we are aware that we may bring personal biases to the equation. For that reason, we do a lot of talking off-line to keep ourselves honest and fair. I am confident it is the very same here.
     
  8. Siskiyou

    Siskiyou In Memoriam

    481
    1
    14
    Thanks, Ed - that answers my question.

    Scott

    (No, I wasn't referring to your thread or post - quoted your verbage to frame my related question.)
     
  9. Lownen

    Lownen TrainBoard Member

    1,077
    3
    21
    Ed, Crandell, et. al.

    I think you all do a wonderful job, both here and on Trains.com. I respect the fact that the thread on Trains.com was locked because, as Ed said, it was descending into a gripe session about government regulations.

    One problem with locking a thread like this, that has something very meaningful at the top, is that there are no new posts to bump it up to the top of the list. This gets it off the first page of posts very quickly and, if other people are like me, few people will notice it on subsequent pages. I only go to page 2 when I'm looking for something I already read recently. Perhaps you could consider making threads like this temporarily "sticky". That is, if your forum tool allows you to remove the attribute after it has been set. I wouldn't want to have to keep it at the top forever, or delete it permanently either.

    Best!
     
  10. Scott R. Vantine

    Scott R. Vantine TrainBoard Supporter

    84
    0
    20
    As a model railroader, and formerly a firefighter, I firmly believe in the old railroad addage of "safety first". I don't think that it is a bad idea for those who would be interested in having their layout voluntaraly inspected. Not to critisize for modeling skills, but to make sure that ones wiring is up to snuff, and that you don't have accidents waiting to happen. No one would be forced to have their layouts looked at. It isn't hard for one to overlook something by accident, but someone else may see it and could bring it to attention before problems can occur.

    It has been mentioned previously in this thread about other hazards around the layout/workrooms like paint cans, thinners, etc. One of the easiest ways is to buy a quality medal cabinet (with no holes to the outside) to put your "flammables" in, and in the event of a fire this would act to keep fire, flames away from the contents, until the fire can be extinguished. Commercial enterprizes have used them for years...bright yellow cabinets that are labled "flammable".

    Materials Data Handling Sheets (MSDS) are a wonderful thing to have around. Not only do they tell you how hazardous, how flammable, but they also tell you the health hazards involved, and what to do if it gets spilled/released, etc.

    For those of you that would consider having a fire extinguisher around, two would be better in case one doesn't work. And in the event of a fire, the fire extinguisher should be used first and formost for getting out, not "staying and playing" as a firefighter. Should a fire occur aim at the base of the flames. You are trying to seperate the fuel, heat, and oxygen from one another which extiguishes the fire.

    Smoke detectors/Carbon Menoxide detectors, Heat detectors are a plus in every home even those without layouts. You never can tell when they will be called to duty to save your life by warning you of danger.

    The biggest causes of fire by wiring are shorts, improper installation, or not large enough wire size causing wire to heat up and the insulation to melt and the wires to short against on another. House hold wiring doesn't have to be the cause. It could be something as small as the wiring in an ipod shorting and starting a fire.

    I am not trying to tell any experienced modelers that they don't know what they are doing, I am saying guys/gals please think "saftey first", allowing you to have an enjoyable time doing what we like to do best...run our trains!

    Here is another quick safety idea...many modelers with larger layouts have "mushroom" shaped layouts....do you have the way out labled clearly in the event of an emergency...remember...even the layout owner could become disoriented in the event of a fire and try going the wrong way out.
     
  11. friscobob

    friscobob Staff Member

    10,474
    311
    126
    IIRC, the free-fire zones tend not to last either, since people get tired of the flaming and leave for more civil sites, and they eventually burn out. If a thread is being locked, it's for a reason, not to fuel suspicions of the if-it-feels-good-do-it crowd.

    But there are some who just as soon don't want to play nice and do what they want....if you have a problem with how a site is run, take it to the administrators.

    Meanwhile, back at this thread:

    If I want anybody inspecting my layout in any capacity, I'll ask a couple of model RR buddies over for a look-see and suggestions. Safety in the train room is necessary, true, but should be up to the individual modeler.
     
  12. SteamDonkey74

    SteamDonkey74 TrainBoard Supporter

    7,152
    108
    87
    I don't know how these discussions go from talk about safety and common sense to alarmist cries over the imagined creeping socialism in the guise of mandatory inspections.

    I, personally, would be happy to participate in a VOLUNTARY program in my local area where people help inspect one another's layouts for safety problems. If someone wants to take a ball of hot wire and wrap it in flammable foam covered in volatile organic compounds and not have anyone look at it that's their deal.

    Foam insulation is flammable. The biggest function of gypsum board from a building code standpoint is to provide a fire resistant interior surface. Rated fire assemblies in wood framed structures often include one or more layers of gypsum board over the studs and insulation. I would guess, though I have not done the testing myself, that if you cover your foam in less flammable scenery materials that you can bring up the overall fire safety of your layout.

    I think the best thing to do, and this is just my own opinion and not some carefully chosen professional advice, is to avoid situations where sparks or high temperatures are involved around foam insulation, and that when such incidents are unavoidable that one have a fire extinguisher. Of course, if someone wants to burn their house down because they think that this is an idiotic and overly alarmist idea, or they're afraid of the creeping socialist hordes of inspectors that they think are being proposed here, that's their own business... unless, of course, they live beneath an orphanage full of disabled children.

    Adam
     
  13. Midnight Railroader

    Midnight Railroader TrainBoard Member

    112
    0
    13
    It happens because, when soemone who knows nothing about the subject, but who wants to be "helpful," or just enjoys their position of power, like members of an HOA board or town council, hear about the "voluntary" inspections they're apt to get the idea in their heads that if there's some kind of safety risk, it ought to be regulated.
     
  14. SteamDonkey74

    SteamDonkey74 TrainBoard Supporter

    7,152
    108
    87
    I don't think the safety risk is appreciably greater than all the silly things people do with their old newspapers, boxes of oily rags, or piles of clothes.

    My city's City Council has too much else to do to worry about train layouts. If we had a rash of really awful fires caused by bad wiring in layouts, they might get involved, but this is the city that likes to meet and discuss things to death so nothing would happen for years.

    When I was in the market for a house I would NOT consider any house with an HOA membership requirement. I don't need someone creeping around telling me not to dry towels and bedsheets outside on a sunny day, or telling me which five or six colors I am allowed to paint my house.

    I would be happy to look at layouts in my area for my own considered opinion, but I am certainly not going to run to the authorities over this sort of thing... unless I find that someone is hiding parts of the bodies of their victims in their scenery.
     
  15. friscobob

    friscobob Staff Member

    10,474
    311
    126
    Common sense- so uncommon

    Sounds like where I live. :rolleyes: We're looking for a new home, and if I can help it I won't get one in a neighborhood with an HOA.

    As far as storing hazardous items, in my line of work I deal with substances that are potentially infectious, and could possibly give you something Ajax won't wash off. I am required to wear a lab coat and gloves while working with patient specimens. I have to use great care even when dealing with sharps (used needles). So safety, I'm aware of. I carry this over to how things are in my home. Because of this, I have no gas cans in my garage, all my spray cans are well away from open flames, eetc.

    On the layout, as I have said, I wouldn't mind having some friends over to check things out & give me some pointers. But, I can well do without an inspection committee, unless I'm working on a club layout.

    Using brand new wire with no breaks in the insulation, covering all places where wiring is joining, using the right gauge of wire, properly installing wire to power packs and controllers, and making sure the power is OFF when the layout is not in use and you leave the RR room, will go far to keeping you and yours safe.

    Storing paints in a safe place away from open flames or heat sources will also work.

    Wearing protective eyewear when using a Dremel or soldering, mask when painting, ear protection while using noisy tools, etc. also work.
     
  16. Helitac

    Helitac TrainBoard Member

    580
    19
    28
    I'm of the opinion that this is what was originally intended. The value of another set of eyes cannot be over-estimated. Then you do what your conscience dictates. With liberty comes responsibility, it's still your decision. Even with the outstanding response times exhibited by our first and second responders, an informed and technically capable citizen can influence the outcome.
     
  17. L Lee Davis

    L Lee Davis TrainBoard Member

    220
    1
    13
    This subject has been covered perty well the only things I would add is it is all a matter of basic common since and allowing your thinking to be grounded. Most of us have friends that on occassion help us out on our layouts as we do for them. Allow their expertise to serve you as your expertise serves them, it is a good form of checks and balances. So ask them to have a look see with you. For the lone wolfs out there even if you don't have any friends (And that's highly unlikely) just being aware is a very good start. If you do not know how to do something like 120 volt household wireing then get somebody that does it is money well spent. It's a matter of knowing your limitations. To add to the metal paint locker a small metal trash can with a lid and quart of water is a good place to discard oily and soiled rags. With foam insulation of any kind yes it burns quickly but it's the toxic fuems that will disable you long before the fire gets to you, but most of us have it encapsulated with hydocal or a plaster of some kind so if it is covered it is not too much of an issue (Tip: Mix 1 box of bakeing soda to 1 qt. of water and paint the insulation with it, it will decrease it's flameability). I have it in my layout but I am learly of it and for me I think I will remove it and go to aluminium screen and plaster cloth as the layout grows. Again it's just a matter of thinking before you act, being aware (If something does not look right it probably isn't) and allowing your common since to come to the fourfront of your thinking and actions.

    "Still Training After All These Years"
     

Share This Page