Sunday, March 27, 2011

Low voltage and NEC most do not get it?

Do you run Low Voltage Wiring Outside?
Are you following National Electrical Code?
Are you putting your self at risk by not doing so?

An alarm company runs a cable between 2 buildings across an alley way and put it at 12 foot assuming it is high enough, no truck tall enough coming down the alley can hit it they thought.
Wrong one day a Crane Truck 12’9” comes down the alley and pulls out all the wiring and causes
Damage to both buildings .Which also resulted in a surge in the wiring destroying the camera system.
The Alarm Company assures the building owner since the trucker took it down the truck companies insurance will pay. Wrong the investigator comes on scene and denies the claim because the installers failed to follow National Electrical Code which requires wires in this situation to be 14 foot high. In addition the wire was not properly grounded and surge protected as required by the NEC the alarm company will now have to pay for the damages.
An alarm company is hired to install a camera system in an open dock area of an industrial building to watch where flammable gas cylinders are being stored. Under NEC this area is defined as a hazardous area even thou it is open on 2 sides it still requires the use of very specific methods as to how the wiring is installed and wiring sealed to prevent explosions becuse gas is being transferred in this area .The alarm company mistakenly believes its low voltage wiring does not require the use of explosion proof fittings and components and installs standard equiptment in the room, a month later there’s a major explosion and the room is destroyed and three employees are hospitalized with serious burns. And the investigators trace the ignition source back to the alarm company not using proper wiring measures, besides the lawsuits and local code violation citations they are facing they are also facing massive fines from OSHA as well.
An alarm company installs IP Cameras on several light poles in a parking lot and lightning strikes one of the poles sending a surge thru all the equipment and takes out the computers in the building and at the same time starts a small electrical fire.
The alarm company claims it’s an act of god and not there responsibility. Wrong again when the investigator gets on scene and again determines the install fails to meet the NEC section 900 which requires all low voltage cables entering buildings be properly protected by using surge protection and bonding and grounding applications. The alarm company also faces a code violation citation for not following the code as well after the fire and code people investigate.
Cable companies and Telephone Companies include surge protection on all of there installs what makes an alarm company think it is exempt from following these same codes.
Mostly it is a lack of proper education in our industry and apathy on the part of alarm company owners to get there employees properly trained. Plus when going to even an approved training class all too often these courses fail to properly recognize and endorse the use of the NEC .
I see it all the time when it comes to fire alarms better than 90% of the fire systems I have taken over or serviced for others are non code compliant when it comes to how Fire Alarm wiring is to be properly run and installed. This is why I feel alarm companies should be employing electricians to install the wiring to code not using techs who are not trained to follow the NEC and when wiring is not properly installed this is when systems fail. It is time the Security Industry takes a good hard look at its self and its training and start turning out properly trained techs becuse as the world gets more in the mood litigate
And as OSHA , NFPA, ICC and other codes are being more closely watched and updated as technology is changing at a fast pace and more and more integration of computers becomes involved there is now a much higher chance of something going very wrong and an incident hitting seven figures in damage.
The industry needs to get out of its head we are doing low voltage and do not need to meet codes and instead realize we are installing Class II and III wiring which must meet all applicable codes because if we do not do it right some one gets hurt.

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