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Fire Alarm -- Maintenance

Who installed it - write it down. Was it tested - write it down...
Answers to these questions don't mean anything now, but in the future there might be a chance someone will want to know.
Douglas Krantz -- Fire Alarm Engineering Technician, Electronic Designer, Electronic Technician, Writer






If It Aint't on Paper - Did It Happen?

By Douglas Krantz

Paperwork: when things go right, no one reads it; when things go wrong, everyone reads it.

At the time you did the work, showing on paper that you installed, repaired, or tested parts of the fire alarm system helps those in authority know you properly did the installation, repair, or testing.

The Fire Alarm System is a Life-Safety System

Fire alarm systems are there to protect property and to save lives.

Basically, when there's been a fire:
  • That's when the fire inspector looks to see if improper installation exacerbated the damage
  • That's when the insurance company looks to see if they can pass the cost of rebuilding to someone else
  • That's when the county attorney looks to see if someone is at fault for the injury or death
When people's lives are at stake, writing down what you did at the time of installation or service may be just the thing to show you tested things out.

Memory Doesn't Count

Memory isn't good enough; after a couple of years, you need paper to verify what you did.

For those in authority:
  • On the work order, just saying what the panel said at the time of arrival indicates that something was wrong
  • On your work order or invoice, just saying that the panel is normal at the time you leave shows that you did look
  • On the a-builts you send into the shop, just showing where the wires are run shows that the system is built right

It Seems Like No One Reads It

When there's no problem with a fire alarm system, no one cares to even look at your paperwork. Everything you've written down you can expect to go into a file at the shop and then disappear; never to be looked at again.

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On the other hand, when the building has major damage from a fire, or even worse, when someone is injured or dies, that's when what you have written on paper suddenly becomes extremely important.

Basically, if your paperwork from months to years before doesn't show that you installed, repaired, or tested parts of the fire alarm system, how do the authorities know you did it?

Write It Down at the Time

Once something goes wrong, scratching your head and trying to remember something you did last year is not what those in authority want to hear. Looking at what you wrote down at the time is what they can count on.

For the fire marshal, for the insurance company, for the county attorney, if it ain't on paper, it didn't happen.







Douglas Krantz

Describing How It Works
writer@douglaskrantz.com
Text
612/986-4210

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Electrical Flow


On this website, most references to electrical flow are to the movement of electrons.

Here, electron movement is generally used because it is the electrons that are actually moving. To explain the effects of magnetic forces, the movement of electrons is best.

Conventional current flow, positive charges that appear to be moving in the circuit, will be specified when it is used. The positive electrical forces are not actually moving -- as the electrons are coming and going on an atom, the electrical forces are just loosing or gaining strength. The forces appear to be moving from one atom to the next, but the percieved movement is actually just a result of electron movement. This perceived movement is traveling at a consistent speed, usually around two-thirds the speed of light. To explain the effects of electrostatic forces, the movement of positive charges (conventional current) is best.

See the explanation on which way electricity flows at www.douglaskrantz.com/
ElecElectricalFlow.html
.