Saturday, December 27, 2014

Local Fire Marshal is right. Hoarding is becoming a bigger problem.

 A recent news article and fatal fire here in Penn Hills brought chilling words from the Fire Marshal Chuck Miller of the growing problem of people Hoarding

I will never forget getting the call from my customer on the  chilly morning of  March 16th, 2001  I got a call from my customer Brian Barcic his Fieldbrook Apartment building was on fire.
as we stood out back as Mt Lebanon firefighters put out the fire and secured the scene on the 2nd floor . It was then that we started seeing firefighters throwing pile after pile after pile of newspapers and magazines out of the 2nd floor apartment window  which had caught fire,4859367

The problem the women was a hoarder and had the apartment filled with newspapers to 4 ft high with only place to sit down was small place in kitchen and bathroom. Even thou alarms activated and she tried to escape her junk filled apartment and Mt Lebanon Firefighters  and medics did there best to save her life  She would pass away from smoke damage to her lungs.

Yes hoarding is becoming a major problem and only getting worse I saw it all the time when I served as a firefighter. and it is these cluttered junked up homes  and apartments which are becoming fire traps, and frequently become death traps when a fire does start as owners and tenants can not escape.

One of the worst cases of hoarding  involved a set of brothers in New York City who ended up dying in the death trap they created  .

I have a neighbor whose brother lives down the street and his home is a fire trap the parents are dead and he lives by himself in a pig sty ,as you can see in the pictures above . 
Often mental health issues come into play and those who hoard often become hermits who disappear from society and simply want left alone. 
I have spent many hours cleaning up these types of places after the owners have passed and its disgusting and you must take hazmat precautions. 
How can any one live like this ? who knows .What can you do if you suspect hoarding? not much you can contact Code Enforcement Officials.who can make them clean up and if they are seniors local area on aging office or similar senior advocate who may be able to help.
But unless agency's are willing to get involved or until the time the person is considered a harm to them selves or the community not much can be done. You will just keep hearing more and more about these cases. The  earlier you can find out a relative or friend is doing it, the easier it is to get the help and treatment they need.


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Honeywell Stood Up and did the right thing for customer stuck with non remote hardwired Tuxedo Keypads

Honeywell Security  came thru when there sales representative did not and gave me nothing but promises.

The problem there where 2 versions of Tuxedo Automation Touch Pads sold a hard wired version and a WiFi version.

When first released the local rep  Jim G. promised that they would be remote control capable in about a year and flash upgradeable
I sold the Tuxedos  based on this promise of remote control capability  and that both would be able to do this and about 16 months later  the WiFi remote capable tuxedos could be remote controlled all you had to do was upgrade the firmware . However Honeywell choose not to do this for the hard wired tuxedos so my  3 customers spent $400.00 for nothing while my customers who bought the WiFi version where enjoying the new things they could control . As many of my customers know each other as I built my business on word of mouth you can imagine how upset my customers stuck with the hard wired tuxedos felt.
I contacted Jim G. numerous times over this issue and for over a year he has been stone walling me. Well Finally a very nice gentleman named Eric  Oh. got hold of me after reading my blog and sent me 3 of the WiFi touch units for my 3 customers stuck with the hard wired tuxedos.
they are now like little kids using the keypads and now that the voice feature is coming out cant wait to try this feature as well.

Thank you Eric Oh and Thank You Honeywell for taking care of my customers who are loyal to your product as many have been using it since the Ademco Days.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Renewable Fuses a ticking time bomb hiding in many commercail and industrial buildings when not properly applied

Renewable Fuses have been around for many years  at one time they where a very handy overload unit to have on site. If you blew a fuse you simply opened up the fuse end slid out the blown fuse link and inserted a new link or 2 links if it was a time delay fuse and away you went.

But thats where the problem started. These fuse where only meant to be used on circuits with 10,000 or less interrupting amps  like light  circuits and transformers but as usual they got misapplicated and ended up in industrial and commercial applications where there can be 50,000 or more interrupting amps  are available allowing for a very dangerous overload condition which can result in a arc flash and explosion. In the picture below on the left you see a renewable fuse which end caps can be removed and link replaced next to a modern slo-blow one time fuse made to handle 100,000 interrupting amps  but as you can see its easy to just replace one with the other.

Renewable fuse on left modern one time fuse on right

 renewable fuse apart showing replaceable link
 The other problem of course is if end caps are not properly tightened and then you had maintenance people trying to put more than 2 links in a fuse which will cause a much further than allowable time for fuse to operate. 
 When installing new equipment these renewable fuses should not be used only modern one time fuses. But it happens a fuse blows and only one available in shop is a renewable fuse and in it goes to get a machine back on line and then a problem happens.

Luckily the availability of the links is getting fewer and further apart as many manufactuers want nothing to do with them due to liability issues but they can still be found  and when i find them I remove them and replace them with proper one time fuses. 

But like anything these hazardous units where never recalled and just allowed to go away quietly 
by them selves and never issue a warning about them and most rookie electricians have never seen one let alone know there dangers. but thats NFPA and UL for you. they never ever fail to disappoint me.