Sunday, April 23, 2017

You can not make a 4 wire smoke detector work on a 2 wire Fire Alarm loop but that did not stop this installer from doing it and leaving half an apartment building with out proper fire protection for over 30 years

In 1984 the Pa. fire and Panic Act was passed and it required the vast majority of apartment buildings to install Fire Alarm Systems unless you where in a community using the BOCA Code  but some followed both like Monroeville  a very good ideal that unfortunately was never properly enforced by the state  and has lead to hundreds if not thousands of inadequate and improper systems to be installed in apartment buildings all over the state.

One such building I encountered in the  south Hills of Pittsburgh is just such a case the system was installed but never inspected and passed by any fire official and up until it was purchased by my customer this past year and I rebuilt it never properly worked in fact half of the smoke alarms and pull stations never functioned since the day they where installed  .

So how could something like this happen ? Unfortunately it still goes on to this very day.
Back then community's who did not have a local Fire Marshal or Official to inspect left it up to the state to do it. In too many cases the state approved the drawings and got the required completion paper work the system was installed but never verified the systems or inspected them.
This lead to a host of violations from non approved burglar alarm equipment being used to pull stations mounted at 6 ft .

In this 22 unit 3 story apartment they installed an ESL 1500 Fire Panel but then never field installed the resistors which supervise the wiring on the end of the circuits this resulted in the south end of stair tower with smokes and pull stations to fail to operate when a wire fell off a heat detector in basement
so it never worked for god only knows how long .
Then to make matter worse they tried installing 4 wire detectors on 2 wire loops.
yes it can be done but you must install 2 extra wires to provide power to the units they did not which means they never worked. Despite how they tried to make the wiring work.

By jumping 2 wires over to power side of detector sorry that does not work so these detectors never worked.
Now to make matters worse this system up till 96 was regularly inspected by a big famous 3 initial fire company whose inspectors passed it every year and never found any of these issues in effect they where committing fraud signing the reports and ripping off the building owner and more importantly
they where putting lives at risk all for the almighty buck. Of course so much time has passed the people who installed the system are long out of business and dead and the people inspecting it are probably long gone and probably dead as well so who you going to go after.

I rebuilt the system installing a new Silent Knight 5208 Panel  all new system sensor  smoke and heat detectors plus carbon monoxide detectors and supervising as much of the wiring as I could and installed a Cellular Sole Path Communicator to notify fire dept and this time had it inspected by the towns new chief who is now going back over and rechecking all the property's in the town for proper compliance .
Good for Him and he has implemented The Compliance Engine to help keep track of things. Of course your still going to have the raggers and taggers but all the tracking helps to catch them. 
But finnaly the good people of this community will have proper fire protection.


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