City Electrical Inspection Incident.

I am paying to own my own home.  Over time, I have come to realize the deficiencies our house offers  because builder took shortcuts or was stupid.  One issue is that our front hall closet has no light.  When we open the closet we almost need a flashlight to see what is inside.  Why not install a light?  I have tried placing battery wall lights but they did not work out.  The best option is to install a new electrical fixture.  But what if the a hall closet light is left on with the door closed?  Might that cause a fire?  With the new LED lights, there is almost no heat generated that can cause a fire.

I do my own electrical work.  My wife and daughter went on a week’s vacation and I thought it a good time to rectify this particular builder not doing a good enough job of making our home.

From pulling prior city permits, I know that current load is a big deal.  I got a prior permit held up until I showed up with a database listing all the outlets in our house and which phase they used.  You can not just add an electrical outlet and not take into consideration the current load and how balanced the load is on the two 120 volt circuits.  Our house has one 120 volt circuit for all the first floor lights and a second circuit for all the second floor lights, which makes a lot of sense.  I was adding 10.88 watts by using GE, 24 inch LED, 961 lumens (30878 26742), under cabinet light.  I was attaching it to the inside, over the door part of the wall but screwed into the ceiling.

I sent the following e-mail to a friend in our city government:

I called this morning to find out when the city inspector would show up to do my first or rough electrical inspection.  It is just a simple electrical wiring to a switch and then a hall closet light.  I was told the inspector would show up any time after 12 noon.  It took me hours to get things ready for the inspector:

  • I unscrewed a drywall temporary opening under our stairs leading up to the second floor to show the inspector where I tapped off juice from an existing hallway switch.
  • I placed a construction light into the dark room like space to show my electrical work.  You can craw into this enclosed room only with some difficulty and it is pitch black inside.  I had to run a long electrical line to feed our hall light from this point.
  • I opened the hall way switch which now has the new ROMEX wire used to feed the new light and pull the wires out so the inspector could view all the existing and new wires.
  • I placed a light into the hallway closet to properly illuminate the electrical work that I completed.

I went down for a nap at 11am and woke up just before noon.  I went to the front door to find a note saying that the inspector showed up before the time I was told over the phone, at 11:30.  I was at home.  I never heard anyone knock.  No one called to alert me that they arrived.  I quickly called and the lady at  city hall and  tried to get the inspector to come back but his schedule was full and i have to wait until Tuesday for him to come back.

I have a couple of points to make:

  • I was given a window of 5 hours where I was required to say at home and pay attention to anyone arriving.
  • I was given incorrect information as to when the inspector would show up.  This wastes the time for your inspectors and the customer.
  • It takes me time to make the inspection a quick process by providing illumination and opening up spaces.  I now have to go through this process again?

After fuming for about one hour I thought it smart to try communicating to the city and let them know my viewpoint.  I sent an e-mail to the Director of Administrative Services at about 1:22pm, same day:

I called this morning to find out when the city inspector would show up to do my first or rough electrical inspection.  It is just a simple electrical wiring to a switch and then a hall closet light.  I was told the inspector would show up any time after 12 noon.  It took me hours to get things ready for the inspector:
  • I unscrewed a drywall temporary opening under our stairs leading up to the second floor to show the inspector where I tapped off juice from an existing hallway switch.
  • I placed a construction light into the dark room like space to show my electrical work.  You can craw into this enclosed room only with some difficulty and it is pitch black inside.  I had to run a long electrical line to feed our hall light from this point.
  • I opened the hall way switch which now has the new ROMEX wire used to feed the new light and pull the wires out so the inspector could view all the existing and new wires.
  • I placed a light into the hallway closet to properly illuminate the electrical work that I completed.
I have a rare form of blood cancer called Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia disease.  I have to take at least two naps a day as I get tired.  I went down for a nap at 11am and woke up just before noon.  I went to the front door to find a note saying that the inspector showed up before the time I was told over the phone, at 11:30.  I was at home.  I never heard anyone knock.  No one called to alert me that they arrived.  I quickly called and the lady at City Hall  and  tried to get the inspector to come back but his schedule was full and I have to wait until Tuesday for him to come back.
I have a couple of points to make:
  • I was given incorrect information as to when the inspector would show up.  This wastes the time for your inspectors and the customer.

  • It takes me time to make the inspection a quick process by providing illumination and opening up spaces.  I now have to go through this process again.

  • You better believe that I have told my friends about this which does not enhance the city’s reputation.

The Director of Administrative Services responded quickly at 2:11 pm, same day with this e-mail:

Hi (Score Card). What is your address?
Thank you.

Then at 3:15pm, same day the Director of Administrative Services sent me this e-mail

The inspector is on his way now.   Thank you.

The city inspector showed up and passed both my rough and final!  I sent this to the Director of Administrative Services at 3:18, same day:

The city inspector just showed up and passed me for BOTH rough and final!  I owe you! What is your favorite drink?  I will buy you a bottle – not kidding.

Then at 4:05, same day, I got this response:

Not me sir.  The Development Services Team jumped right on it.  They are a great staff and wanted to deliver the highest quality service to one of our fine residents!
Thank you for your support over these many years.
Best wishes.

Maybe the reason I got such spectacular response is that I volunteered for the city CERT program and I am a current member of RACES.  The RACES meetings are at city hall and the Director of Administrative Services would sit in, some times, for our meetings.

When you give, you sometimes get.

CERT TIP: Coaches Wristband

Last revision: May 1, 2016

Let me start this post by defining some abbreviations that you need to understand before reading my main post.

CERT stands for Community Emergence Response Team.  These are city volunteers that are trained to go out into their neighborhood after a disaster and administer aid.  These individuals may very well be the first individuals that give aid.  City governments offer free classes and typically follow this up with simple protection gear for these volunteers to use.

RACES stands for Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service It is a group of amateur radio operators that volunteer their time and equipment to offer emergency communications to some U.S. government agency whether that is city, fire or police.  Some cities put one RACES member into a geographical area to serve as long distance communications member because in large cities CERT FRS radios might not make good communications to city government due to distance.  RACES typically have the capability for a city to send messages very long distances.  Their role is typically to maintain constant communications with CERT groups, city, the county and even state agencies.

FRS stands for Family Radio Service.  These radios do not require a special license so CERT members can easily use these radios. The radio manufacturers advertise these radios will communicate up to 30 miles.  Do not believe it.  Two miles is average.  This is a short distance radio system.  Some cities use this type of radio communications for CERT individuals and teams.  These radios are cheap and very easy to use.

Back to my story:
I had taken CERT class years ago and cribbing, extracting people from collapsed buildings, was probably, the only skill I still remembered.  Our city RACES group members were encouraged to sigh up for the CERT class again if we had not taken it for a long time to refresh our memories.  I decided to take the class again.  When we got to the section covering triage, I fully expected that I would forget what I had learned.  I asked a friend of mine who had taken CERT about a year ago and asked him if he could remember the triage procedures.   He could not.  I rather quickly came up with a solution.  I remembered seeing football quarterbacks having a wrist band that showed vital play information on their arm.  I looked for this device and quickly found them for sale.  The one web site I read reviews about this device revealed that the military uses these.  There are a number of these wrist devices.  I decided upon the SteelLocker Sports X200 Adult Play book Wristband.  It cost me $7.99.  It does not use Velcro to adjust to your size arm but a soft elastic sock, about 6 and 1/2 inches long, which holds a 5 and 5/8  by 3 and 1/2 inch plastic sewn in window.  If you have a thick arm, I suggest that you look at Velcro adjusted wristbands.  The top page part of this wrist arm band window lifts up so you can use both sides of the top portion and then view the bottom.  You thus have 3 windows.  You slip in your paper notes into slits along one side.  I measured and cut my notes to 2 and 1/2  tall by 4 and 1/2 inches wide.

Image shows a wrist band on the left arm. The top page can only be seen.
Coaches wristband showing outside first page (of 3 pages)

 

A wrist band is shown and the top page has been lifted up so the bottom of the first page shows the second triage procedures and then under this top page and resting next to the arm is the final of three pages showing the final triage procedures.
Coaches armband top page has been lifted up to reveal two more pages of triage procedures.

Following are my list of note pages:

These pages were updated May 1, 2016 after I had Captain Alan Wilkes from OCFA, who also teaches CERT, looked over two of my pages.  He reviewed only Triage 1 and 2 pages only.  He did not like my long winded presentation and said “stay out of the weeds”.  I took his suggestion and added a single page called RPM (see below).  I still think there is a need for TRIAGE page 1 and 2 because most of us hardly ever have to use these skills.  People who have to TRIAGE more frequently probably only need the RPM page.

Top page: Emergency radio frequencies: RACES, Red Cross, Hospital Group, FRS frequencies.  Each is fully labeled as to ID, repeater shift and PL tone.

Optional radio template:

RADIO Template


Page 1:  Triage procedures in .pdf form.  I created these documents using Pages.  Font size is 7pt.  I confined the text into a 2 and 1/2 inch high by 4 and 1/2 inch wide space so it would slide into my X200 Coaches Writstband (adult size):

TRIAGE 1


Page 2: is a continuation of the triage procedures.

TRIAGE 2


Alternate top page:

Here is a single page that show, in a very brief form, how to perform the whole TRIAGE process.  This single page is intended to replace page 1 and 2.  Another idea is to put the RPM page as the top arm band page.  You could then open the arm band to see TRIAGE PAGE 1 and TRIAGE PAGE 2 for more detail.

RPM


I am still going over these documents to ensure they are accurate for content and clear in how to use the directions.  If anyone sees a mistake or improve the wording, let me know.


The reason I went to all this trouble is that triage is what scares me the most.  The triage process we are making life and death decisions and I do not want to screw that up.  I want those procedure to be ready after I forgot them.  I put this arm band into my CERT backpack.

Another, being prepared, solution was suggested by Mrs. Anna Lee Cave, Emergency Preparedness Coordinator for the City of Brea, California.   She sent me this link: http://quickseries.com/index.php?prodcode=01-0595-000-01  and recommended the Field Operations Guide.

I hope you find this helpful.