Saturday, September 15, 2018

A Very DANGEROUS GAME VERIZON is PLAYING When it comes to changing olds POTS phone line technology to FIOS Lines Some one is going to die

Yes the old (POTS ) Plain Old Telephone lines are slowly going away  . In some areas you can not even get copper phone line service as VoIP Voice Over Internet Protocal  Takes over .

But Verizon is playing a very deadly game as it starts phasing out POTS.

IT IS GOING TO COST SOME ONE THEIR LIFE

Here is how it goes

2 apartment buildings I maintain in Mt Lebanon Pa. all of a sudden did not test in  on their 24 hr daily test cycle .

OK kind of strange so I go out next morning and find  both buildings not dialing out I have dial tone
but when you dial any number a message comes on advising service has been turned off    and hang up and redial to call 911 ?

Well thats kind of strange sounds like phone bill was not paid and line switched off by mistake it happens .

Call customer to tell him whats going on  and he calls Verizon and they tell him they have been trying to get hold of him they called the number and got no answer. they shut off the line hoping some one would notice and call them
because they are removing all POTS lines in the area and he needs switched to FIOS lines.

 (of course when they call the number they are not getting an answer its dedicated to fire panel only )

Thats nice so 24 hours or more can go by with a fire alarm not being monitored  because Verizon supposedly was not able to get hold of customer to tell them they need to switch to Fios ,and so they decide to shut off service figuring the trouble signal from the panel and central station not getting test will get some ones attention.

I am not the only dealer to encounter this problem it is happening all over the country and many buildings are not being properly protected  it has even happened to Central Stations  receiving equipment and at 911 centers .

Instead of Verizon sending something in mail with big print to get their customers attention and or posting a notice on a customers door  and or sending list of addresses and phone numbers to local officials so they can be tracked they are just shutting lines off , and putting in some cases hundreds of lives on the line when it is an Apartment building.  In some cases entire complexes have been shut down because they supposedly have not been able to make contact with line owner.

Lets face facts how many times it takes well past 24 hours before a service tech ever gets dispatched
to a fire alarm because fail to test issues are so common and routine with the switching over of new technology a building could easily go a week or two before any one knows and then when alarm goes off and tenants assume fire trucks are on the way and they are not, or that rural or out of the way building where some one comes by once a month to check things like a Radio Transmitter and utility sites catches fire or has some type of other emergency situation  it could well cost a life and cause thousands of dollars in damage because by the time First Responders are notified its too late.

Even thou the fire panels give a local trouble alert when they do not transmit. Those signals are often ignored because they happen so often or they have been bypassed .

This is why I have been encouraging my customers to switch to Cellular Communicators because at this pint they are more reliable than Copper Lines because of the way Verizon is no longer maintaining them and then indiscriminately turning them off.

Verizon is going to have blood on its hands with this current policy of just turning lines off
its just a matter of time. 

Fire Officials tell me its Verizon its a utility they can not do anything and can get no answers.

I say BULL SHIT


Verizon is a utility and it answers to the PUC Public Utility Commission

ALL Fire Officials need to file a complaint with PUC and Demand Verizon post a notice on property's they plan to turn off and also give a list of numbers and addresses to be turned off so Fire Officials can be forewarned so they know there will be a continuity of service as lines are replaced.







Tuesday, August 7, 2018

A Very Scary Situation found when replacing 2X4 Fluorescent lights with LED Flat Panels in a small office

I was recently changing out old style 2x4 fluorescent  lights in a friends small IT office when I came across a very scary situation which if it had not been found would have resulted in a catastrophic fire .
The old lights which which utilized 4- T12 old style bulbs with 2 bulbs per ballast are very inefficient so many are updating to either 3 bulb T8 fluorescent or in this Case LED which draws half the power and requires no maintenance for 60,000 hours .

I pulled down and replaced several lights when I got to the back repair room and thats when I found the situation which in my 40+ years as an electrician have never ever encountered .

Two burn marks going all the way up thru the ceilings Insulation where the 2 ballast sit in the fixture not only this there are 2 holes burned thru the fixture .



Now its not unusual for these ballasts which where replacement ballasts to get hot when they go bad but I have never seen anything this extreme


Which has me wondering if this is a manufacturers defect with these ballasts as they have gotten so hot are we looking at a recall and the big danger you can see the close tolerance between fixtures and ceiling and there are ,many small offices and store fronts like this all potential fire problems if there is a problem with these ballasts .

As far as I can determine proper voltage 120 VAC delivered by West Penn Power proper size wire and properly grounded .
I will be in contact with manufacturer , CPSC and Fire officials over this matter.


UPDATE :

After being examined by an Electrical Engineer he determined the current replacement ballast where not responsible for making the holes but the original supplied ballasts did it.
He has seen several cases where holes have been blown thru a fixture but never 2 in same fixture where both ballast failed which makes this a real anomaly
Sure would love to see the original ballast but where disposed of many years ago  .




Sunday, June 10, 2018

Help to Organise a Missing Man Search and lessons learned

Never fails to amaze me how many times I have done things over the years and never got one iota of thanks for having helped a customer, a volunteer fire company, a church or other  non profit organization after helping them out  volunteering of tradesman skills and or time .In some cases what would be thousands of dollars in skilled trades time but thats human nature people are only your friend when they need something thats why I have only a very small circle of close friends and acquaintances. 

Take the time in late 90s when I joined Penn Hills 224 officially Known as Volunteer Station 4# in Point Breeze .

A young man from Cheswick had been missing for a few days after a very cold night and his car was found atop PA-910 in the Indionola section of Allegheny County.

The then chief of 224  a paid  medic in the area was contacted by the missing mans family and asked if he could help.

He agreed rounding up area fire depts.in the Allegheny valley and asked me to get in touch with Search and Rescue team I was involved with  Search Rescue & recovery of W. Pa. to help set up and lead the search.

I made all the phone calls helped get search team in touch and then set up to do the search that cold morning at the then old abandoned Ames Plaza in harmarville and before they set out I got an emergency call a few minutes away at a dear friends in Ohara Twp whose heat was out and oil furnace was sparking. Since most searches take several hours and some times days told the chief the situation I was in he said go ahead I would be right back  after fixing furnace. Well I no sooner got over and fixed the furnace which was luckily a fast fix called chief told him I was on my way back to the search , and he informed me  the team had no sooner set up a command post and the young man which is very rare most searches never end that fast.  was found dead of a self inflicted gun shot. . Sadly a conclusion no one wanted to have happen.

Every member there that day who took part got a certificate  of appreciation and of course the obligatory news paper picture later in the week. I did not get as much as a thank you despite all the work I did helping to set up the search. like I said I am never disappointed in human behavior. The couple times I ever was mentioned as helping they could not even bother to spell my last name correctly.

The Assistant  Chief at the time felt I was slighted over this matter  and wanted to do something but I never made a fuss over it. The young mans family found closure thats all that matters its not about a piece of paper and recognition its about doing the right thing for your fellow man. I have saved numerous lives over the year coming across serious traffic and pedestrian accidents and on construction sites  and never sought fame or recognition over it. its something you do treat your fellow man the way you want to be treated because some day you may well be the one needing help.



Monday, April 16, 2018

Motion Sensors Another case of Green Technology Wasting Energy .

One of my customers has a large warehouse where they store oil products and Forklifts are used to shuttle items around and into and out of trucks.

The electrical outfit they hired to install the new lighting  to save energy put in the Energy Code required motion sensors on the new T8 fluorescent light fixtures which are designed to shut the lights off to save energy but in the long run they have cost energy because they where set too low a time on which turns the fluorescent bulbs on many times a day and shortens their lives.
I have had to change the bulbs at least 6 times in the warehouse compared to warehouse down street
where same exact lights have not ben changed. thats a major waste of energy all those bulbs being made and life shortened

The reason is fluorescent bulbs are designed to only operate for so many cycles due to surge of power which turns them on the timers where set for in some cases only 1 minute which means every time
a fork lift operator came by the lights tuned on and off in some cases up to 50 or more times a day
and since the bulbs only have a cycle rating of  5000-7000 times on and off  poof bulbs needed changed every 3-4 months . I have since changed them up to max allowed 30 minutes in high use areas and now lights turn on maybe 6-8 times a day and bulbs are lasting much longer. and in long run staying on longer saves more power than constant on and off surging of the power. .

Once again Green Technology has proven to be a waste because there where no instructions  to set timers to type of lighting and the union electrical outfit that did the work could care less how or why they did the work. which is a shame most time union electrical work is excellent this company's work was sub par.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Deadly Carbon Monoxide Condition avoided because an alarm was not ignored.

One of the IT guys I used recently called and asked me about doing monitoring on a Very  exclusive High End large home  used as a weekend hunting lodge out in the middle of no where in Armstrong County Pa.

It had installed a very high end Elk Security and Automation System which needed some tender care and programming with the automation and person who installed it and company are no longer in Business. Panel was a mess and needed cleaned up.

He had it all figured out except the Macurco CO Detector kept going off.
I went out and changed the detector to a new System Sensor CO1224T  since the Macurco piece was past its  10 year expiration date .

I did not sense any issues in basement some times you can, asked if she was getting headaches flu symptoms she said no. So I installed the System Sensor unit  Since Macurco unit was past its expiration maybe it was reason it was falsing seen it before and later that evening it went off. Owner was not going to be there overnight which was good and told her I would be out in morning to test
I bought a CO hand held monitor  made by UEI $200.00  from local heating supply house as I have had issues like this in past and since they did not want a lot of people around this place and it was
propane calling and having fire dept all over place was not an option. So I went out that morning and as soon as I walked in home after calibrating the unit started getting readings it topped out at 20PPM .

Not a good situation . The person who installed the combo hot water heat and domestic hot water for sink and  heating part of  system which was hot water under floor piping  takes for ever to respond so my IT guy knew some one local and they responded with in the hour.

Sure enough his meter was reading even higher than mine by time he got there.

before the boiler was even opened found a couple issues Rubber Fern-co couplers used on the plastic exhaust line manufacturer does not recommend using them can come loose and deteriorate should be a solid glued coupler .Then outside a grill was in front of pipes blocking air flow and to make matters worse a homemade plate drilled full of holes  was used as a screen to keep birds out a screen is made by manufacturer specifically for unit but was not used .

Then the condensate tray which collect's the water produced when heat is condensed  because furnace is 95% efficient was full and not draining fully another potential of CO along with couplers one of which was leaking.  There was also potential that heating  exchange core which has coils for domestic hot water  and hot water for heating pipe  was cracked and leaking was going to be a expensive day for customer but I saved their lives Thats all that counted. This furnace was put in around 2004 and since its well water that feeds it it required special treatment system which if it was not working properly could have lead to this early failure . and since it was put in before the 2004
Uniform state wide ICC Construction Code went into effect there was little inspections done.
Shame this owner paid for and did not receive what he paid for.

Needless to say some lesson learned never ignore a CO detector it could be the end for you.


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

When I Really Needed AAA Auto Club Service They Really let me down because too many Stupid Fools not Prepared for Winter Driving

This past Monday MLK Birthday and a Holiday so not as many people working or on the road  I was on my way to Burgetsstown to handle an emergency call one of my customers who rents a building to a Pipeline construction company . They had a problem with the outside electrical outlets used to plug in trucks to keep the engines from freezing up it is 17 Degrees out -5 wind chill  . I get on US 22/30 and at Oakdale exit my truck dies out the fuel pump went out. No Problem pull out my AAA Plus card at 1:30 PM  and call and they tell me might be hour or 2  fine I tell them I am properly dressed have emergency heat packs ,blanket   and food and drink .
Great dispatcher tells me have you on priority tow list wish every one else was like you stay warm and safe. Now I have to be extremely careful in cold weather I have 2 plates and 7 screws in my foot so I had on Arctic Pack Boots  as a precaution I am also a cancer survivor as well as other health issues. I should have been put to front of list and dispatch knew this.
90 +minutes go by call AAA  sorry they say 3 calls ahead of you seems others are having issues and instead of being properly prepared they are not need rescued be at least another 90 minutes OK I can hold out but if its going to be longer let me know will have some one come pick me up or walk 2 mile to some where safe. Another 90 + minutes go by they tell me 8PM before they can get to me why they did not tell me this sooner would have called wife or friend earlier.
In worst case asked for police to pick me up and get me some where safe who where already overwhelmed  by unprepared motorists. Luckily my wife who was busy at church came and got me at 5: 30 PM and brought me hot coffee and some food. The driver showed up at 6:15 and finally got a tow to garage which was already closed so now I loose a 2nd day of work customer goes another day with out trucks being kept heated  thanks To AAA
The driver was very nice Younger man and he was telling me all the people he had to go rescue past few days and how many of them not properly clothed no emergency supplies  , even a mother with here kids who where in there shorts from basketball practice and had dead battery and freaked out because they where going to freeze to death instead of insisting her kids put on sweat pants and have a blanket in the vehicle. Its winter time we always have winter and cold weather and bad roads  and so may people do not prepare do not have on snow tires do not have good battery's do not carry or know how to use jumper cables do not even have a pair of gloves when needed. Expecting AAA and 911 to bail their ass out of a bad situation.
I gave the driver a $30.00 tip for taking care of me after all it was the holiday and he appreciated it because he said he rarely ever gets tipped by those who expect him to be there 10 minutes after they break down.
I appreciate the drivers what they and dispatchers go thru but those dispatchers should have been upfront and said you are looking at 4 hr delay for help can we get you some where  safe and thats where AA failed in its duty to me as a member  . I have heard from many others after what I went thru and they say they have dropped AAA and gone to other plans due to same poor response time.
I only use AA when I absolutely need them never call for jump or battery service or Tire service unless no one is around or I can not get a lug nut loose. However others quickly use up all there tows and service in 6 months pathetic AAA allows it to go on. I will be looking for a better plan as well.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

My Total and Complete Disgust with Honeywell ADI and tthe Vista Series panels and Total Connect 2

I have been a loyal  Ademco/Honeywell Products dealer since 1979 when I installed my first 1028 Ademco Panel I bought at the defunct New Brite Industries which I will not shed a tear over.

I have used other products over years but Ademco / Honeywell has been my go to panel  all these years.

So Honeywell comes out with this fantastic program called Total Connect and my customers love it they can now get direct to there cell phones and PC's the events going on with there systems. Arming and disarming ,doors not to be opened etc . My commercial customers in particular relies on it heavily to know whats going on at their businesses when they are not there.

So when Total Connect 2 came out and offered even more information as to the individual ID who opened and exact zones that triggered etc.  my customers really wanted it.

But there's a catch you need the Vista128 or 250  BPT and 32 ,128 or 250 FBPT Turbo Panels to do this. You can not just pop in a chip like you do on Vista 15P and 20P

 Especially since you can no longer do Total Connect 1 on older panels that where not already registered with programs  I have had a lot of  commercial customers with High end Vista Panels  want to upgrade to Total Connect 2 since they announced the phase out of TC1 and upgrading to TC2  but they have been waiting for a sale on the panels which go $400-800
Honeywell keeps pushing TC2 but does not do anything to help the small business folks who are most of my customers family owned   business with 4-200 employees

The problem being also is trying to get your hands on one as it seems the local ADI Branch does not have them in stock always 1-5 days out .

The other issue withTC2 for my commercial customers whose panels are partitioned they only get information for partition one not the others while other manufacturers panels can do multi partition information.  Honeywell salesman when TC 2 came out promised this would be available and its been 5 years and still not available and will probably have to change panels again when it does finally come out.

Then you have days like I have today a customers TC 2 panel was damaged with water when a sprinkler line burst and of course local ADI branch does not have in stock I will have to temp install an old vista 32FB I keep for emergency's  and then install the turbo when it comes in customer can not be with out security.

Thats the other rub before ADI there where independent supply houses carried Ademco products but then Ademco formed ADI in 80s  and you can only get from ADI no longer from independents oh ya there's that guy on line if you want to pay more who resales Honeywell stuff.

How f#@!^g embarrassing. I had to tell my customer oh sorry cant get you a new panel for couple days .

When I know I can walk into most supply houses and they have at least 1 or 2 panels  of each kind sitting on the shelf.

At this point there is every day more and more that other manufacturers panels are becoming more attractive  and my dropping the Honeywell line all together  which is a shame when you consider I have over 400 commercial customers. But if thats what I have to do thats what I will do the customer always comes first1#

To make matters worse the panel never showed up till well past 2pm because instead of sending UPS the stock comes LTL less than load by common carrier i got home that night after well after 9pm


 I am going to start using NX8 and Concord  panels enough horse shit with Honeywell


Sunday, January 7, 2018

Escape Rooms they are all the rage. But are they safe? Some thoughts before you try one.

Yes the new Escape  room fad is taking off across the country where you get locked into a room with friends and you have to decrypt locks  of all types to escape in 60 minutes and win a prize usually a T Shirt. They even have portable escape trailers which they bring to events but just how safe are they ?

Here are some of my concerns and questions when it comes to these escape rooms 

1# What if a fire breaks out? is their an emergency evacuation plan in place?

 2# What if  some one has a medical emergency ? is staff trained in First Aid and CPR do they have a First Aid Kit and AED available ?

  3# Can the person operating the complex be made aware you need out ? are they observing you thru a camera or other means to make sure everyone is safe  also is there an emergency release and stop button should some one get claustrophobic or other medical issue. ?

 4# If its a permanent type attraction in a building are there Sprinkler System and or Smoke Alarms which automatically power down and unlock all devices? What about a Carbon monoxide alert?

 5# Are the rooms professionally designed and locks etc certified by a 3rd party agency for safety?

6# Are there emergency procedures in place in case a lock system jams even if they are magnets all hardware can and will fail.? 

 7 # From what I have seen some places have full fire detection and protection to nothing at all

Some are approved by local inspectors some are not .

Thats why you need to be vigilant when it comes to going to and participating in one of these escape rooms . 

If your an AHJ with one of these facilities in your jurisdiction are you even aware of it especially with these trailer units taken to events should you be notified when they are in your community

Yes lots of questions need answered about these rooms because public safety is at risk if its not being done correctly