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 



Saturday, May 21, 2016

BEWARE MICROSOFT IS DELIBERATELY PUTTING LIVES AT RISK BY FORCING WINDOWS 10 DOWNLOADS ON WIN 7 AND 8.1 COMPUTERS

If you own old windows 7,and  8.1  etc computers Microsoft is deliberately and misleadingly  loading windows 10 onto your machine when you leave it on and unattended. and encouaging you to update from 8 to 8.1 then they force win 10 on you

I recently had it happen to me and it was a real pain getting my machine rolled back to windows 7

It starts with all those little memo windows popping up telling you about win 10 but this week what is happening is a window pops up and asks when do you want to schedule your update if you dismiss it next thing you know it says thank you and when it will update your machine . If you did not catch that fast little dialog yes you wake up and find Windows 7 has been installed on your machine. or it will happen right while you are in the middle of doing something important on your machine like doing payroll or editing audio and video etc.


THE RESULTS CAN BE TERRIFYING

RADIO STATIONS ON REMOTE CONTROL HAVE HAD ISSUES AND HAD AUDIO STREAMS SHUT DOWN IN MIDDLE OF NIGHT  AND NO EMERGENCY BROADCAST ALERTS CAN BE SENT . It happened to radio station chain I provide contract engineering services to.

SURVEILLANCE CAMERA SYSTEMS CAN NOT BE ACCESSED 

RESTAURANTS AND RETAILERS RUNNING POS POINT OF SALE SOFTWARE ALL OF A SUDDEN CAN NO LONGER USE THE SOFTWARE

FIRE DEPTS CAN NOT PAGE OUT PERSONNEL AND SEND THEM INFO WHERE TO RESPOND TO

TIME CLOCKS CAN NOT BE ACCESSED AND DOOR ACCESS AND GATES CAN NOT BE CONTROLLED OR OVERRIDDEN

The problem older software programs which have not had there drivers updated to work with Windows 10.

There is a reason why people have not been updating and Microsoft knows full well the lives they are putting at risk and damage they are causing I have filed a report and complaint with US Justice dept and Pa  States attorney general over it. Microsoft knows many company's wait several months before updating computers and software to make sure all bugs have been worked out  and in some cases company's have gone out of business and there will never be updates thats why you are keeping those old windows 98 , XP etc running  Why are they shoving it on us.

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO STOP IT?

Luckily a company called Gibson Research has released a small program which can stop the update and take files out.  the program can be found at following link.





You can also remove from windows update the following update number KB3035583
Why is Microsoft doing this its because they want to spy on your activity's and then collect the data and sell it which is none of their FU###G Business.
There needs to be a massive class action suit against Microsoft for all the damage and cost they have caused people  and I will be one of the first to gladly sign up for it. after the week of hell myself and my customers have gone thru there is no excuse for what Microsoft has done .


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Before you rent your home on AIBNB or are going to do it your self . Are you properly insured? and even permitted where you want to do it ?

Yes the US Open is coming to Oakmont and everywhere you see adds to rent homes to those coming to see the event. Great a little extra money in the pocket rent your home out while you are on vacation.

But it could turn into a major nightmare and you could end up losing your home and or facing major fines and court hassles if you do not do it properly.

Problem 1#  does your community's zoning allow you to do it ?
after all you are operating a business .If it is not allowed you are in violation and the fine is much more than you will make with that rental.  You may well have to have a zoning and appeals  hearing before you can do so.

Problem 2# You are operating a business ,this means filing appropriate local business license forms and paying of local taxes. This also includes any state taxes and license you require

Problem 3#  Insurance  Are you properly covered? you are operating a business in the home most  home owner policy's do not cover this and require additional coverage  for acts  of person renting such as causing damage and theft  and protection for you should a person get hurt while renting .

Problem 4#  It turns  out that innocent couple you rented your home to for the weekend  might well be using your home to film an adult sex movie . Yes it has and does happen  and in many cases this is a criminal act or what if the couple staying decides to light up some funny stuff or do drugs  in some states you could loose your home and have it seized for criminal acts being committed.  Know who you are renting to they checked you out you need to check them out before renting.

Problem 5# It also turns out that couple you rented the home to has decided to hold a wild  party for friends while they rent and your away
Does your contracts have provisions about this ? better yet is some one around to check property while you are away?

Yes this is just some of the many issues that need looked into before you decide to rent your home
do your home work and have a good time or be ready to deal with the consequences.


Sunday, March 27, 2016

A new slogan for the Fire Service should be " Know Whats Under Your Feet " and " Time is the Biggest Enemy "

 Note : This article is not to criticize it is to show why training is so important and-in this case it did and I has taught some very valuable lessons .The National Fire Code has been written on past tragedy's and what was learned at this fire will be  very useful in the future.


March 26 ,2016 will go down in memory's in Penn Hills and Allegheny County after the former Rivers Edge Restaurant  in its latest reincarnation as Vicinos Italian Restaurant   burned to the ground and taught several valuable lessons to Firefighters .Who did not know about a sub basement and almost cost them their lives.  When 7 where trapped and 3 injured  Their training kicked in and they got out alive. This was one of the biggest baddest and scariest fire's in the history of Penn Hills.
and it will not be the last

In the Construction Trades one of the valuable lessons you learn on a construction site is " know whats under your feet ". Know that the floor is solid the beam or board your about to walk on is solid
  the tiles you walk on have not just been set and are drying etc. so you do not injure yourself and end up in a basement hurt or dead.  many a construction worker has ignored this rule and paid the price  I paid this price when a set of  wooden steps improperly reinforced came out from under me in 1992  causing me to fall 12 feet to a wooden floor and crushing my heal resulting in a life time of pain and 2 plates and seven screws  in it  and permanent disability , but building owners and general Contractors fail everyday to follow the rule of time and allowing proper amount of time for construction to take place this gets people hurt and killed and caused many fires and collapses.
  and so now you have Firefighters who have become victims of the rule of  the late Francis Brannigan   The father of modern Construction as he was known in Fire service " The Building is The Enemy Know the Enemy"  a good rule to know as a construction worker as well.




The Rivers Edge as it was known for many years and was owned by a man named Sonny Casale who Ironically died on the day fire started  he started the restaurant



CASALE
PHILIP "SONNY"
Age 84, of West Deer, formerly Penn Hills, on March 26, 2016. Husband of Lorraine Pennetti Casale;  Sonny was the proud owner of The Rivers Edge Restaurant in Penn Hills for over 40 years. There will be no viewing. Mass of Christian Burial will be held Thursday 10:30 a.m. in St. Victor Church, West Deer. Fr. Charles Speicher, celebrant. Donations in Sonny's memory to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital . Arrangements entrusted to SCHELLHAAS FUNERAL HOME & CREMATION SERVICES, LTD., Bakerstown.
Published in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Mar. 27, 2016

some time in 50's  and was added on to several times  over the years with an apartment on top. One of the additions My dad and I  did the  electrical wiring in back around 1969 when I was a  10 yr old child and  my dad had his own electrical company which he closed before I started mine as he had a full time job as an Electrician at J&L / LTV  Steel
I knew about that sub basement but was in Altoona when the fire broke out and even had I been in town and known of the fire and called the chief would he have heard my phone call already being overwhelmed with problems on scene including lack of sufficient water to put out the fire .  The firefighters responding  did not know about the sub basement but should have but  so many buildings go unchecked  because firefighters are volunteers and do not have the time to check each and every business, let alone all the changes the place has gone thru over the years as it changed hands several times as well as sat vacant for long periods  after it was the Rivers Edge. A restaurateur named Mike Roman tried to make a go of it and the venture failed  in under a year and the latest venture Vincinos  closed last year after the  two partners got into a dispute and closed it within 6 months of opening so there have been several remodels over the years.

What we had in the making was the perfect death trap for firefighters.
No one  on sight knew the building  upon initial attack and No one knew the fire was burning for a long period in the sub basement just waiting to burst out and explode right under their feet.  Would a thermal camera of the floor have helped them determine a sub basement  was underneath full of fire  ? This I can not answer But it is a question that needs to be answered is it a tool which can prevent these kind of issues ? As so many firefighters have been trapped and killed in basements and sub basements or have fallen thru floors into them. 4 Firefighters lost their lives  just a short piece up the river from Penn Hills in early 90's  in Harrison Hills when a  concrete floor collapsed under them because a fire had been burning underneath for hours With all the new technology out there we need something which will allow firefighters to better see what they are facing

This is where building construction knowledge is essential the fire academy's offer building and structure classes but most firefighters want to slay the dragon and take the structure burn class than sit in class and look at pictures of building interiors and how they are put together.  Just a good solid walk around when on scene can reveal many details to the trained eye when coming upon an unfamiliar building but in the chaos which consumes the fire ground there is often not time to do it.
Add in the fact you have an apartment upstairs to worry about if it was occupied or not and little amount of water . This fire time was the enemy.

Yes some community's have an excellent computer based program gives firefighters every thing they need to know about a property and Penn Hills  doe not have that kind of money it takes to build and maintain such a service.   But they have  appointed a new Fire Marshal who is doing everything he can to make it a better community including whats going on in buildings and working hand in hand with firefighters .He even put in place" The Compliance Engine" Program to help track building fire alarm inspections  his efforts also includes showing up at fires to provide this knowledge  and providing information on whats in the buildings  But in this case timing was everything. Firefighters where already well into the attack and things went wrong fast before information could be disseminated by the Fire Marshal. 

So  to this is where Code Enforcement dept needs to be a player as well and  should be working hand in hand with the firefighters but again this dept has all new inspectors since the older ones have retired and where adequate records even kept before these inspectors took there  position ? In many cases it is not possible because as soon as the inspector signs off and allows a business to open some back door hack contractor is inside putting up walls and cutting in door ways etc with out the building inspectors knowledge and it goes on everywhere. The new inspectors are well trained and trying to help with being part of the solution which is fantastic that that Code  Enforcement ,Fire marshal and Firefighters  are working together to make it safer for all .

People have been quick to criticize Chief Snyder for the way he ran the fire you could not have had a better chief running it he has many hours of training and I have been beside him as a working  Driver/ Engineer at some big fires and he was presented with so many obstacles so fast that he had to make in a split second with out second guessing . Its easy to arm chair  fire chief I know plenty of fire chiefs would have needed to change their shorts coming up on a fire like this. Again Chiefs Snyders training and Knowledge kicked in. and many lessons learned
It was a brilliant on his part to start the tanker loop as fast as he did and to bring in Greensburg Foam Unit  He ultimately  saved lives and protected surrounding properties because of his decisions including calling immediately for a RIT team  he should be praised not criticized.

It would be nice if the fire dept could pull up and have X-ray Vision and be able to see whats going on inside but thats not possible thats where common sense and skills developed over many years is your best friend in this case that training paid off and the firefighters got out alive when fighting a fire always expect the unexpected and be ready for it.
Thats why it is essential that firefighters learn how buildings are constructed and attend these classes which many do not to their detriment. which brings my saying " The Fire Service is its own worst enemy. "

 Know the rules.

The Building is the Enemy Know the Enemy

Know Whats Under Your Feet.

Time is your Biggest Enemy  -Be ready for anything 

 Know the Fire Service is its own  worst enemy -  and you need to educate yourself on everything you can so when you find your self in a bad situation you are able to get out of it.