Wednesday, October 12, 2016

P.O.S. Sliding Gate Operator Installer Violates all the rules installing a security gate and puts public in danger

Yes hard to believe it but when a customer of mine bought a run down Mini storage facility in the South Hills of Pittsburgh  he was left with an extremely dangerous and major case of Negligence when it came to the entry gate to the place.

Although the previous owner was nice and installed a new gate operator on the place it was totally and completely installed improperly and in a very dangerous manner .

All automatic moving gates require a minimum amount of safety controls to prevent a person or vehicle getting smashed.  this gate had no such control installed the POS individual who installed the gate made no effort to insure public safety to make matters worse he moved the exit lop further back almost 6 ft from the gate after the loop that was in ground broke this means some one leaving  thru the gate  and not being able to get out on the main street could have their vehicle crushed by the gate and if its a person they will be killed  with the power this 1 HP controller has .

At  bare Minimum a break the beam photo beam has to be installed across gate and for extra protection a millers edge which sense pressure on end of gate and reverses it .

This gate had neither safety control.

I Have Notified Nortek who makes this controller to the danger a company called   Control Products of Pa.  has cuased and which seems to be a made up company I can find no such listing ,and how they put the public  in danger  so they will suspend all further sales to them.

When you go into a Mini storage facility you do so expecting a safe situation this is not the case . I have ordered and shortly will be installing the required safety controls on this unit .

Sunday, October 9, 2016

When you have a town with lenient code enforcement it leads to problems like this which could lead to catastrophic results

Yes there is a town I have worked in the past 40 years and I have never ever meet one code official or fire dept member  .It is a well to do community in the North Hills of Pittsburgh near the border with Butler County.
In my 40 years of doing work there I have yet to see one building  in the town which properly meets building and fire  codes or ADA  .Requirements  and it will ultimately lead to the detriment of this community.

I recently was called on a last minute emergency or contractor friend when building he was working in Fire Alarm was not properly working . Seems one of the clients an Online School did a check of its office fire alarm and found pull stations which did not work and fire dept never responded .

I went out to the building and found several issues.

First the building was not being monitored by a24/7 central station.  Instead owner was self monitring with a voice dialer to his cell phone.
Fire panel with illegal voice dialer on top

While the code at time the building was built was fire and panic and not BOCA like other community's around  at time building was built it does not appear it needed monitored under fire and panic act . But if it did need monitored the building inspectors never checked to see that it did.

However the occupancy changed over the years and under modern code absolutely it has to be monitored again where are the code officials following up on this

Then I found non addressable pull stations on  a system which requires addressable pull stations
this was a very dangerous situation because the electrician or contractor who installed that non addressable device caused the whole fire system to be inoperable if you activated the non addressable
pull station and shorted the signaling loop.

The individual never bothered to look just hooked in the pull station and walked away and never tested it again some one required it to be there on plans  but no one from the township chose to come back and make sure it worked.

I had to add horns on to a system twice in a building in this town both times I installed them  and both times no one ever showed up they never even required a fire alarm completion certification the work was done and done so properly  so knowing this contractors regularly take advantage of the situation do what they feel like and could care less if its not done properly

Ultimately this neglect by inspectors of the town to do due diligence will cost the owners of these buildings in the end.

If ADA walks in finds the buildings not conforming to ADA  there are fines and then expensive repairs building owners will have  to do.

If there is a fire and systems are not in place or fail this can lead to major civil court actions for the building owners and denial of coverage.

 It can effect the community's ISO rating and cost more to have fire insurance in the community because property's do not conform to proper codes.

Ultimately some one is going to die in one of these buildings when a sprinkler or fire system malfunctions or otherwise fail to operate due to missing  monitoring etc .

But this is apparently what the community wants relaxed codes and higher insurance premiums This community is nothing more than a ticking time bomb waiting to go off.

Improperly Wired Sprinkler Systems The Ticking Time Bomb in too many buildings due to those who should not be working on fire systems

I see it all to often both Wet and dry sprinklers wired improperly and failing to send a signal to a fire alarm system when they trip which can result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage  if it happens over night in unocupied structures



I recently ran across two  such set up in a church in Penn hills  and a church in Ben Avon Pa. which had additions  built in the 90's before both towns had active Fire Marshals inspecting .

The wet and dry system switches along with the tamper switches all wired on 1 zone when it should have been 3 separate zones.  . The fire panel allowed for it but laziness on the part of the contractor  allowed it to happen.

Now back in early 70's before modern fire panels came on the market this was acceptable but as panels and codes evolved in 80's it was then required that tamper valves no longer be wired in same circuit as flow and pressure valves  and then  dry and wet systems had to be separately Annunciated .

So obviously these churches should have had 3 separate zones which was not done. In fact there are still so called fire alarm installers still installing wiring  the wrong way.

They get away with it because Pa. has no training or license standards and too many  inspectors who would not know to even check for it . How many of these bad systems are out there  in my estimates up to 60% have problems based on what I find in the field.

Whats being done about it nothing unless a tech like my self catches it and re wires it  or inspector catches it and has it corrected. 

This means a valve could be turned and no one knows and or when tamper valve is turned  or low pressure switch  activates it blocks signal from a flow switch.

This is why NFPA changed the code no misinterpreting signals and no wondering what has activated

You know its the dry system  pressure  switch the wet system flow switch the low pressure trouble switch or the valve tamper switch. .

In the case of these churches they have been rewired properly but thats 2 out of how many are bad and how many each day are being installed improperly all over this state and if the wiring is being installed improperly you know the piping is as well and I see plenty of horror story's there as well.. with building codes so dependent on sprinklers coming on and activating to protect lives you think people would be more cautious how they do thing but they do not care and are putting yours and my life on the line should a catastrophic condition  occurs . 

Sunday, October 2, 2016

When a fire Official Rags and Tags Fire Extinguishers we have a real problem on our hands and possible ethical Questions

I was working in a Customers Plant when I noticed a Guy coming around and inspecting the Fire Extinguishers .

normally I see the technician  hold the extinguisher and tap it to loosen the powder and keepit fluffed and then you see them take off the hose and either blow thru it with air duster or look thru or run a thin piece of wire thru to make sure there not obstructed but thats not what I saw in this plant.

He simply tilted it looked in end of hose dusted off and tagged it inspected what we call in the Industry a RAG and TAGGER.

When I question his technique he says what he is ding is perfectly fine and  then I find out he is the Fire Marshal for several community's. He even rides around in what looks like an official Fire dept looking vehicle which says Fire Prevention on it.

The whole situation is Bad you have some one who is suppose to be protecting people and he is not doing his job. I have consulted with several industry experts including  Master degree Safety Personnel and they all agree in an environment like a fabricating shop with temperature extremes and dust everywhere  . He should have done a more complete job at what he was doing  . He should have done a better job to make sure powder was loose and hose was not obstructed. He said he was worried rust on units when he hit them to loosen powder would effect them then he should have replaced them if they are showing rust. Its right in OSHA Regulations they are to be replaced if rusted and in a fabricating shop not only NFPA applies but OSHA rules over everything.

Of course the next question should a person like a Fire Marshal even be doing this kind of work and that even includes installing fire alarms, selling smoke  detectors, first aid kits etc.
OK well he is not doing so in community's he protects but it still leaves the door open to ethics and power  the fire Marshal has

 If your not going to do a job properly you should not be doing it period.

If I am questioning what he is doing I am sure others are as well.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

NUVICO Just one of a long list of CCTV & Electronics company's to go out of business in the Race To The Bottom

Yes sadly there is a race a very bad race when it comes to electronics and thats a race to the bottom when it comes to who can produce a camera or DVR or other electronic item., for the cheapest price and its killing the electronics industry.

The latest Victims include  Nuvico , Everfocus and KT&C

It was every time I saw nuvico rep they where changing their product line and look we have these cameras even cheaper . i kept telling them I do not want cheap i want the dam thing to work.

But electronics manufacturers have not listened instead of getting high quality for a reasonable price electronics made in Japan they instead have gone to China and Malaysia where there is no such thing as quality control and in the case of China it is often forced prison labor.

The result these manufacturers ordered products made and labeled with their brand name on it put it out on the market and  dealers started returning product after product due to it being absolute garbage.

I myself had to return several Nuvico DVR's with defective fans and hard drives in the last year something I never use to do when Nuvico made there own product instead of contracting out. 

I see the same thing going on with flat screen TV's , LED lights  and even in the trades the poor quality of electrical and plumbing fittings  you name it  and all you find is junk made overseas.

As as long as consumers refuse to pay for a quality product it will be nothing but shit being turned out  in the race to the bottom and I have absolutely no pity for any of the manufactuers who go out of business who play this game.

The USA priced it self out of the market years ago for American made products because the USA manufacturers refused or did not have the capital to improve efficiency due to constant wage demands and union work rules interfering and you saw where that got the US Steel industry .

When a mini mill in Korea could put out 10 times the steel for 1/4 the price an American mill could
because American mills where so inefficient .

When will the race to the bottom happen in electronics no time soon Im afraid to say as long as consumers are willing to buy and demand cheap it will only get worse.



Sunday, July 24, 2016

In an Emergency Allegheny County 911 The worst run of all 911 services I have ever had to contact and use in my many state travels and 2 million miles on the road

At one point I was running to 7 different states doing alarm work in late 90's and during all that driving I often had to contact 911 centers in various county's in various states and each and every one except for Allegheny County phones where answered in a timely manner and calls  professionally handled .
In Allegheny county forget it you either get thru keep getting a message like I did on a  Wednesday  morning at 10:00 am 7.20 16  there was a high volume of calls to 911 center  hang on . Then when I did get thru an uncaring operator when I reported a erratic car in traffic with broken and busted up windshield who possibly was fleeing a crime scene and I had license plate to give.
  We have hand a significant increase in crime in that section of Penn hills and this could be a very important info and they fluff it off

Yes thats Allegheny County 911 the horror story's I could tell you are very significant  and not unexpected considering the fact that Allegheny County was the last major metro area to put 911 into effect  .before that I had to carry a list of phone numbers and City of Pittsburgh's dispatchers where the worst of the worst and many of them where merged into the Allegehny County system a serious mistake.
I can go all the way back to summer  1979 while working for Burns Security on a Power upgrade build site in South side and upon seeing a very large plum of heavy black smoke going up in the air near homes along Arlington Ave I called City of Pittsburgh dispatch and was told they would not send trucks  and whole time I am pleading they send trucks for an investigation a home was on fire and people where trapped and finally after being on line with operator and pleading they send some one he finally goes. OK we just got a call from the Call box system  at least 2-3 minutes of time lost sending units . Today that operator would have been fired  But not in Allegheny county where arbitrators keep putting them back on the job. Not all the operators are bad some are super starts but they have no choice but to work with the bad ones   who could care less about human life . can not speak or listen to english correctly and generally do not give a fuck.

When I call 911 in other county's and states I never get the attitude you do from the operators  like you get in Allegheny County.  They are quick and efficient and very helpful like in Lawrence county when I had an electrical issue do to water break at a business and did not have numbers for the utility company's . I called Lawrence county 911  told them what was going on  she took my info said hold on and switched me to approrite  utilty and started fire dept to my location.

Had a similar dangerous incident in Penn hills few years back called Allegheny county 911  where was major break and they said to call water company and hung up. I had to drive over to the water plant on Nadine and let them know what was going on  because I did not have their number.

Same thing happened when a truck load of waste paper was all over the Highland Park Bridge  and causing major traffic hazard they said call the city sork division and hung up.


Yes if your in Allegheny county have an emergency and are unlucky enough to encounter one of these rude ignorant operators your out of luck be ready to handle it on your own what a dam shame it is allowed to go on and they have no means to replace those who will not do there job.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

A Potentially Explosive Situation not being Addressed by Fire Officials. Pleasure Boats being fueled on trailers while sitting in Gas Stations

You should never put gas into a gas can when it is sitting in the trunk of a car or bed of a truck you should take the can be it plastic or metal and place it on the ground  to eliminate the potential of the gas igniting  from static electric.

So I ask the question?

Is it safe to fuel pleasure boats sitting on steel trailers in a gas station 

I see this practice many times during the summer because it is much cheaper to fuel your inboard boat at a gas station than at the gas pump at the Marina.

But this same deadly static could just as easily happen because you have a non grounded gas tank on a Fiberglas boat sitting on a steel trailer.

The other problem you now have a boat full of gas being transported and posibly being involved in an accident before it gets put into the water .

I have gone thru numerous Fie codes and while filling portable containers is in codes there is nothing which addresses  fueling a pleasure boat on a trailer. It appears NFPA and UL and Fire officials are asleep at the switch on this one . Probably because they do not realize such fueling is going on.
Particularly here in Western Pa where we have one of the highest number of registered pleasure boats in the country and largest inland Port with 3 rivers converging.

Yes there have been cases of Gas stations exploding in this area when people improperly fueled and I am worried it is just a matter of time till one of these boats being fueled some time 2 or more at a time at a gas station goes off like a bomb.

It time to look at this issue investigate it and take appropriate actions before some one gets seriously injured or killed all because some one wants to save some money.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Unthinkable in today's Fire Prevention World but City's and Towns had an Unsupervised circuit to fire panels up till 1980s

A look back into the history of  fire reporting systems 

It was called a Candella Circuit and it was very unique when it came to monitoring fire alarms  basically it was a board with lights that lighted up when a contact on Fire Panel closed and it was used well into late 1980's  by the City of Pittsburgh  as well as other city's and towns . There was no supervision and you had no idea if wiring was even working until you did monthly building test.


Pittsburgh put the Candella Circuits in place when it got rid of the old Gamewell Master Box system  which was supervised and would work despite multiple wire breaks on the circuit how ever it was expensive to maintain a private wiring system in the city where Bell Telephone maintained and charged for using the Candella System It worked well and many fire alarm systems back then where not fully suervised like they are today .
  The city would replace the Candella with a fully supervised technology called Derived Channel System in late 80's which sent special  sub audible tones back and forth over phone lines you could not hear to do the supervision. Bell Telephone called it REACT System



 But it only lasted a few years again due to the high cost of maintaining it and poor quality of phone lines in many areas at the time  and was turned over to Guardian Protection who eventually abandoned it.
Finally Fire Alarms where allowed to report in via Digital Dialer which used POT or Plain old Telephone Lines  which at first there where only 3UL Listed  central stations permitted to send signals to city which was Honeywell, ADT and Guardian Protection . But then the city of Pittsburgh finally allowed all centrals to receive and send signals to them in early 90's. All in All it was a learning curve for Fire Officials as technology and codes are constantly changing and facing the massive amount of Fire and Burglar Alarms the city has they did a good job administering them. Bottom line they kept Pittsburgh Citizens safe

Amazingly even thou the Candella system was unsupervised there where No incidents where it did not work that I know of  because Bell Telephone Employees did an excellent Job in maintaining and checking the lines   . Which where marked with special red caps anywhere they terminated.Unlike today where Verizon is trying to get out of hardwired or POTS phone lines

Of course today there are many ways to send in Fire Alarm signals from Digital Dialer's over POTS to Cellular and Internet Communicators and even Private 2 way radio