Wednesday, January 28, 2015

When I needed Bilingual marked Fire Equipment for a group home Firelite Alarms came thru

One of my Institutional clients decided to help the Federal Immigration & Naturalization Service   with taking in some young south American children during this summers illegal immigration surge .
 Till they can be adjudicated and either deported or granted asylum.
Normally I always install Pull stations and fire horns which are printed in English but since these 2 homes would have those who read and speak only Spanish this could be a problem so I started looking around for a manufacturer of bilingual fire equipment and Fire-Lite came thru  a Honeywell fire group company makes Pull stations which are bilingual as you can see in the picture below.
The stations are fully UL /NFPA compliant and can be ordered in several different languages which can come in handy if you have customers with such a need.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

How many people would have become Electricans or into the trades had the Math not scared them ? the truth all you need is basic math to do your job.

I have heard it so many times over the years from people I meet How they wanted to become a Electrician , Plumber or Carpenter  etc. but could not handle the math requirements when they took the tests to get placed in a class.

The truth the advanced math taught in trade classes is hardly ever used  if you can do standard high school math  add,subtract ,multiply,divide and percentages  you can do your trade.

Its the same even for electronics work I do.  you do not need to know advanced math unless you are doing advanced design and  engineering work.  Why they even insist you have to take and pass advanced mathematics concepts is total bull shit and nothing more than a means to wash out those who could otherwise contribute to the trades.

If your going into a trade then you should be taught whats known as shop or trade math  if your going to be an engineer and or a designer then fine then take the advanced math classes that require them.

Because they keep insisting on adding math courses into the trades that are not needed and never used unless you are doing engineering calculations the whole industry now suffers as many young men who could have and should have been tradesman never came in and now we are very short handed when it comes to the trades as the work force now has an average age of 50

It is estimated that as many as 70% of the available tradesman now working in the field will be retiring with in the next 10 years causing a major crisis. there will always be those like me who will try to work past retirement part time to pass on what we know to the next generation but who will build this country?

Right now just in the Pittsburgh area Local Trade Unions are advertising for recruits something unheard of 30years ago it was almost impossible to get into the unions now they go begging for members.

Local Power company's are offering a fantastic opportunity where you get paid to learn plus come out with a college degree.   It is getting so hard to get young men to come into the trades .

So why with the need for tradesman would educators insist on putting math requirements in place which are not needed and keep many otherwise qualified individuals  from becoming tradespeople?

Sunday, January 18, 2015

30 amp Zinsco breaker on 15 amp circuit makes for hidden dangerous situation in an apartment complex. and all to familar problem with replacement breakers that are no longer made.

Friend and customer of mine purchased some apartment buildings couple years back   in South Hills of Pittsburgh and recently discovered a very dangerous situation when one of the apartments caught fire built in the 1950's each apartment had in it a small Zinsco Breaker panel  with 30 amp breaker for  a small electric range and 2 15 1mp and 1 20 amp breakers to provide power to the apartment.

Back when these apartments where first built that was plenty of power. But as people started adding more items to there apartments like  Hair Dryers, Window Air Conditioners  and Microwave ovens etc. this can lead to strain on the electrical services.
So careful balancing of items is required.

It has not been a problem for my customer as he and his brothers have done a good job on educating there tenants about safely plugging in items in there apartments.

How ever a recent cold snap revealed a rather dangerous situation in one of the apartments which has now caused each and every apartment in the multi building  complex to be checked and if the problem exists be eliminated .
As one of the tenants was enjoying his evening watching TV  and had a fake Fireplace heater plugged in to warm the apartment he noticed his apartment ceiling to have its paint bubbling and walls where hot .
He immediately called 911  the fire dept arrived cut off power then opened up the ceiling where a fire had developed. and would have spread across the attic and possibly destroyed the building and could have easily killed  the tenants had this occurred during the middle of the night.

Fire Investigators determined a romex wire had heated up  and its movement under a staple designed to hold it in place is where the fire started. as you can see in the picture above where romex ire is missing its insulatiion.

But what really caused the fire was the fact at some point in the 50plus year the apartments have existed  and before my customers bought them .Some one either a tenant or a  very sloppy property handy man tired of constantly tripping the 15 amp breaker installed a 30 amp can be seen in the picture below.

We know by its age and date code  it was not original and they stopped making Zinsco Breakers over 30 years ago .  So it was done some time in the 70's . Zinsco breakers themselves have a bad reputation for not tripping properly to begin with and to have such an idiot put such a 30 amp  breaker
on a 14 gauge wire  is criminal. This is double what the wire is capable of handling and as you can see the end results. because this has happened each and every breaker panel in the complex is now being check. 

The 30 amp breaker has since been replaced with a proper Zinsco replacement only breaker.
As these panels are no longer allowed to have circuits added to them. Because the Zinsco company is out of business it is very hard to acquire these breakers original condition  you must be careful where you are sourcing them from as some are rebuilds or old stock with questionable quality  issues .  There was one company in Canada still making them for replacement duty only  which now cost $25.00 a breaker compared to $2.00 when they where on the market and as time goes on it will get even harder to get proper breakers and require panel replacement some some what easily done other near impossible  to do  which creates major issues as building s age. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

This Self Ejecting electric Plug system from Meltric solves many safety issues when it comes to plugging in heavy electrical loads

I have seen it too many times especially on 3 phase powered  electrical equipment.
A worker unplugs the unit while it is still operating drawing a potentially deadly arc  which would not happen if they had simply turned off the main disconnect switch  when disconnecting a big portable pump or electric welder or big mixer

It is  an accident waiting to happen and are totally avoidable  simply by just shutting off the disconnect . But people get busy and forget and  flash crack boom.

Well one company  Meltric has developed a self ejecting plug which helps to prevent this from happening .

The high impact plastic plugs and receptacles are designed to automatically eject   and clear quickly which prevents an arc flash from forming when a plug is pulled slowly as shown in video below.

I have been encouraging my customers to switch over to this plug and receptacle style  to help prevent accidents in their facility and many are doing so. the units are expensive but one cost eliminated is since the plugs can serve as disconnect a separate disconnect does not need to be installed.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

"The Thin Red Line " Just another example of the fine people who become Firefighters after one is arrested for causing $30,000.00 in damage to a NY Fire Station

I have been saying it for over a decade  "The Fire Service is its own worse enemy"

It showed it ugly head this month when the week before Christmas a deranged volunteer firefighter  went on a  $30,000.00 vandalism spree with red spray paint  in Clarksville NY.

 21 year old Damian M. Kessler was arrested earlier this week for causing the extensive damage which put the station out of commission for several days till gear could be replaced and he put a whole community at risk.

Photo from  stater911 article 
 Why did he do it? 
Well I can think of a few dozen reasons.
Starting with he did not fit in ,he was a weirdo ,he did not like being told what to do. he was teased and tormented  and or bullied. or he was doing drugs and went off on a rage or  maybe all of it went on in the Clarksville Station. Something caused him to do it and I hope all the dirty laundry comes out in this case and hopefully some one gets the message this behavior needs to stop. All you have to do is check out Face Book and other social apps to find out what is going on in depts and the constant teasing and tension put on some members I see it right here in Penn Hills it needs to stop period.

So then you ask what about a back round check before he was put on duty?

Good question but a back ground check is only for criminal past not present and should include references from people who can attest to his or her character. 

So how many stations do them properly ? not very many is the answer.

The problem so many stations are hurting for volunteers they will take any warm body they can find questionable or not.
You see the fire service has become a good ole boys red neck organzation where they feel they can get away with anything and not be held accountable since they are the heroes who come and rescue you you either fit there good ole boy mold or your an outsider who needs booted out or made to quit.

Just ask any police officer who works in an area with a volunteer dept. 
They will tell you they run across the truly dedicated Firefighters who are good solid citizens  and then they run across those who are constantly just on the edge of being arrested constantly pushing buttons  and have not been because they have there brother firefighters protecting them.  What cop wants to arrest a firefighter and feel the wrath of the community because they think he is a hero when the firefighter in realty really is a zero.

They talk about the  Thin Blue Line of Police officers protecting Police officers who do wrong it goes on in the fire service as well call it  "The Thin Red line "
and I have seen it time after time. 
I would never follow it if you do wrong you do wrong thats why I was not liked at Penn Hills station 224  there is right and there is wrong and you do not reward bad behavior period.
Thats why my self and 2 other firefighters had to take Penn Hills Station 224 to the Pa. Human Relations Commission after we where harassed and in my case deliberately injured.  
People where always talking behind my back because they where afraid to confront me face to face Im a big guy  so I did the right thing I left and would not put up with it and exposed it.
But this is not the case in the fire service or police depts and bad behavior is condoned and look at the back lash now against all police because of a small hand full who did wrong. 

Its the same thing with unions who protect workers  who are a detriment to the workplace and there fellow worker.

Those who put a fire dept at risk have no business being in the fire service.
But until the fire service is ready to take the matter by the horns get rid of the bad firefighters and welcome the good ones and encourage growth and professionalism what you saw happen in Clarksville will be the normal.

I know how many Fire Marshals and Officials in the volunteer service pull their hair out daily
because they get no cooperation from the volunteer depts under their jurisdiction.
I saw and heard first hand just how Firefighters felt about our former outstanding  fire marshal here in Penn Hills
Jack Mason and the grief and attitude  he was given by depts. Yet when there was a problem some where jack was first one they called to bail them out. 

So what is it going to take to clean up this mess in Volunter Fire Depts?  
Some state or county agency which has the full power and control to go in and clean matters up. 
and community political leaders  with the balls to stand up and say NO. 

No you get NO funding unless you tow the line. NO you will not respond to calls No you will not  provide any service till you clean up your act.

Ohara Twp. Pa. shut down a dept as did Dorseyville  when they had enough its time to start cracking down get rid of the bullys and hanger-ons  and filth which penetrates our volunteer depts.