Part H: Environmental Protection
PCs are designed to be used in the typical office environment, an unlike large computer systems, do
not require air conditioning. Generally, if you are comfortable, so is your PC. However, all computer
systems, regardless of size, have four primary environmental enemies:
Dust and other contaminants: Good housekeeping is a must! The PC and the surrounding area must
be kept clean and free of dust The PC and the surroundings should be vacuumed, rather than dusted.
A dry cloth is only going to kick up more dust, generate static electricity, and add to the problem. As
a measure to protect the PC from carelessness and accidents, users should be prohibited from
eating, drinking, and smoking while using the PC, and within six feet of the PC. The tars and smoke
particles from cigarette smoking are virtually guaranteed to gum up the PC, so unless the ventilation
is good, don't even smoke in a room which contains a PC.
Fire: Good housekeeping and a no smoking policy will reduce the threat of fire. In case of fire, there
must be a fire extinguisher within 50 feet of each piece of computer equipment. A computer is an
electrical device, and water-type fire extinguishers must not be used in the vicinity of the PC. Water
will damage the PC. Also, water will conduct electricity from the PC to the fire extinguisher, and you
may be electrocuted.
Static electricity: Static electricity, which you can generate by simply walking across the carpet, can
damage not only a floppy disk, but the microchips Inside the PC as well. Static can be handled in a
couple of ways. By training, users can get into the habit of touching a grounded object (other than
the PC) to discharge the static. Posting a sign near each PC will remind users to do this before
touching the PC. Commercially available anti-static carpet, pads, and spray are another option, but
cost money and are not really that effective. A cheap and fairly effective solution to the problem of
carpets and static is mixing fabric softener with water and spraying the carpet around the PC.
Electrical power: Computer power protection is like insurance; the more you want, the more you have
to pay. If the local power supply is very poor, an uninterruptable power supply (UPS) might be
necessary. A UPS will backup the power in case of a power failure, but will cost at least several
interference (EMI/RFI) power strip which won't provide backup owner, but will protect your PC for a
power surge. And, for no cost but temporary down time, you can turn off the PC and unplug it in case
of an approaching electrical storm. You should get into the habit of routinely unplugging your
computer at the end of the day, and turning it off when it will not be used for a period of time.
Part I: Employee Owned Computers
An "employee-owned computer" is a privately owned computer which belongs to a soldier or a
civilian employee; it is not owned by or leased by the U.S. Army or the U.S. Government.