Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Fire depts do you know where your Knox Box keys are? Lucky for one dept I found and returned theirs.

I do occasional subcontract work for an alarm dealer who has a bunch of  Coal Fired Pizza Shops.
and they are notorious for causing False Alarms due to Coal Dust.

Well this morning I get a call from my friend he needs me to go to one and replace a smoke detector
which was false alarming .

So I get on site change the smoke  then go to around back of store where there is a small rear access room only from the outside and to my concern I see the Knox Box is sitting open and stores keys in the door .


Now had I not noticed this key first and a criminal type got hold of it  which was a very good possibility as every car going thru Drive Thru window for business next door would see them hanging there they could have had access to every store front in the town  that uses a Knox Box .They would then  have to re-key every Knox Box in town to prevent the burglar getting in undetected to every store with out an alarm or even if they did he would be in and out with ease he got the key.  One town had to do this exact thing and re-key  it cost well over $2000.00 to make matters worse the town could be liable for items taken . Which could cost thousands of dollars and they could have gotten a call got on scene and no key an even worse situation.

I carefully put door keys back in locked the Knox Box and took the keys up the street to the dept. who had no ideal they where missing it . needless to say they where very happy I found and returned it. I am sure some one got a chewing out. and some new protocols to follow.

It is too easy to loose track of your keys all of us including myself have done it and there is that rush of adrenaline as you frantically search for them.

Luckily this time other than some embarrassment no one gout hurt but it could have turned out much worse.

So I ask again do you know where your Knox Box keys are?  Do you have an SOP protocol in place for how they are handled .

Friday, August 9, 2019

Check out this new style Fire Hydrant now being deployed in Franklin Pa.

I was in Franklin Pa. doing some alarm training for a fellow alarm dealer who needed some help learning one of the Vista128BPT panels  when I came upon a most interesting object sticking out of the ground .

But what was it a new style PIV valve for controlling fire sprinklers?

No its a radically new design for a Fire Hydrant

Manufactured by Sigelock Systems LLC and designed to be tamper proof to prevent water theft and hydrants being opened maliciously and to be easier to operate and increased water flow .

Check out the link below to see it in action and its story 

Monday, July 29, 2019

Major Gas Explosion and Fire at a Plaza in Penn Hills Pa. Brings criticism of Gas company for not shutting down entire gas main to help put fire out . But I understand the gas company's concern it could make situation even worse

Penn Hills is no stranger to major fires  over it many decades as a township in Allegheny County

and controversy about how fires where handled often come up from the Arm Chair Quarterbacks.
 But this time I am with the Peoples Gas Company when they would not shut down the Street Main

Photo Credit KDKA TV 2
 They where having difficulty locating  the 3rd and final shutoff going into the plaza and  had to excavate to find it.
delaying putting out the fire for several hours.

So why not just shut off the natural gas  main  line going into the area ?

This would be a very bad move to make . Why?

The problem is after line is shut off then gas is turned back on it needs to be properly bleed of any air that possibly accumulated . But the bigger danger is the 100 or more properties that may or may not have always on Standing Pilot Lights
That are on Stoves , Hot Water Tanks and Furnaces .

Also we have a High Pressure distribution system compared to low pressure system more common in newer areas.  Which brings many more dangers if not slowly and properly shut down and this would have taken  much  longer then it took to find and finally shut down 3rd line. A very stringent protocol must be followed.
I was doing  repair work on Oil heating equipment for a week  at a new gas pressurization station in Preston County WV  for one of my customers who does hot oil pipe cleaning of newly installed gas lines and saw all the precautions and steps taken when they where cutting in new lines and its intense to say the least.
I had to sit thru a  3 hr safety class as well to even get on the site and it covered all the precautions and showed many examples of when things go bad  with natural gas . you don't just shut down a main.

Plus each and every home and business has to be visited by a gas company repairmen to make sure there properly lighted and gas is not building up in the structure and another explosion even worse than the plaza fire happening .
Plus what about the homes and business where no one is there to let the repairmen in. The gas company has no choice but to shut off meter to structure and owner of structure then has to call have lines inspected to get gas back on and pilot lights lite. 

Its a scenario and a liability the gas companies avoid at all costs .

Having years of experience working on various Natural Gas Equipment and Appliances as I do HVAC trouble shooting   I know the dangers involved in shutting gas lines down improperly . 

So what can be done to avoid this situation in future?  Because it happens  all too often when a gas line is damaged by car accident hitting a house or a construction accident striking a line .

Make the valves in the ground  more visible with paint markings on street and caps well painted with reflective paint . Make sure they are not blocked and have detailed maps for fire company's where every gas main shut off is located inside commercial buildings  and  where street shut offs are located which gas company should already know. 

This will take time and effort and ongoing work to insure  maps and markings stays current  but in long run its worth it.

In the mean time excellent Job by all depts involved keeping the citizens safe. 
That was firefighting excellence being out there over 11 hours keeping the scene under control

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Beaver County Officials Failed to use EAS Emergency Alert System during a Chemical release emergency and many did not know there was a problem

Yes once again Emergency Management Officials failed to use their most valuable assets during the Ammonia  Chemical Release in Rochester  in Beaver County. When a building full of chemicals  being demolished caught fire

Many people had no idea an emergency order to shelter in place was issued never got a reverse emergency call  or anything they found out on Social Media  with its usual inaccuracy's

The Emergency Alert System EAS and  Pa.- EM Net where specifically set up to assist officials to get as many people notified as quickly as possible during all  types of emergency's .

They could have sent message out thru Weather service and even there own EM Net Terminal and failed to use it.

Had they activated it every Emergency Weather Radio in Beaver County would have gotten it every AM/ FM  Radio Station and Low Power TV would have been interrupted and message delivered as well as Cable TV Providers and many Smart Phone Providers would have sent the message .

Beaver County has failed to use it .  So has Allegheny County with Chemical Emergency's when train cars went off tracks in Creighton a few years back.

Its a dam shame all that Tax Payer  Money spent  on improving EAS and EM Net and not used.

Just more excuses why people where not notified unacceptable excuses . You have the tool use it.

During the Chemical release Emergency's in Kawana County Charleston area of West Virginia

EAS was deployed and citizens told what they needed to do and how to shelter in place

IF such a  so called backward state of WV used the system and saved lives why has Beaver county and Allegheny county not used it

Beaver and Allegheny County Emergency officials you have failed your citizens  

 Of course now the bigger question why was a business allowed to close and not properly dispose of the chemicals and sit there for up to 10 years.