Not the kind of prevention we had in mind, but...

It's a few decades back, and this data center is protected by a Halon fire-suppression system that's set off by smoke and heat sensors -- or by a big red button on the wall, reports a pilot fish working there.

"Our midrange systems were on a preventive-maintenance contract that ensured they were opened, cleaned and checked every few months," fish says. "It seemed we had more failures after those visits, but that's another story.

"One day the service tech came in to do PM on the line printers we used for production. Sometime later, I went into the computer room to retrieve a listing and discovered the tech standing there patiently, holding in the big red Halon dump button.

"It turns out that when he bent over to work on the printer, he hit the button with his backside. Holding it in prevented it from releasing the Halon.

"There were no phones nearby to use to call for help, and this was before cell phones were in wide use. And the button had been placed too far from the door for him to open it and call for help. All he could do was wait for someone to show up."

Sharky's waiting for your true tale of IT life. Send it to me at You'll score a sharp Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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