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#92836 - 04/12/05 04:20 PM In use covers for firefighter receptacles
tdhorne Offline
Member

Registered: 03/22/01
Posts: 344
Loc: Maryland, USA
The local code amendments require an electrical outlet at each stairway landing that has a fire department standpipe hose valve. The outlets must be the twist lock pattern that is used by local firefighters. Power is supplied by the buildings emergency power circuits.

Since these outlets are used by firefighters when they are using the standpipe connection to supply fire hose and the presence of small leaks during use and spilled water during pick up is normal should I fit the outlets with in use covers?

On several such jobs I have fitted the line to these receptacles with a twenty ampere two pole center off switch and a flanged inlet to use them for temporary power from a generator during construction. I used the flanged inlet that was the same as the receptacles on the outlets. One of the inspectors told me to remove the inlet and switch prior to final on the grounds that the amendment requires that the outlets be powered by the buildings emergency circuits. It was not worth arguing about of course but as one of the local firefighters who has to use the outlets I thought that allowing the circuit to be transferred to an inlet for the fire department generators was a fabulous idea. I guess the inspector wants to make sure I earn my length of service awards program payment that I will get if I have thirty years of volunteer service when I'm sixty by hauling cord up all those stairs rather than using the installed wiring for the vertical section of the run. Experience has shown that the buildings emergency power source often fails before or during fire department operations. The amendment does not read "only from" or unswitched in requiring that the receptacles be supplied from the buildings emergency power. Oh well, just another day in the park.
--
Tom Horne
_________________________
Tom Horne

"This alternating current stuff is just a fad. It is much too dangerous for general use" Thomas Alva Edison

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#92837 - 04/12/05 05:50 PM Re: In use covers for firefighter receptacles
renosteinke Offline
Cat Servant
Member

Registered: 01/22/05
Posts: 5305
Loc: Blue Collar Country
What an interesting application...just helps to highlight the limits of relying on the code to cover every situation!

Looking at it from a design only standpoint.. you are describing receptacles that are likely to be used in rather chaotic circumstances, with poor lighting, with folks running about with more on their minds than messing about with covers!

So what would I do? I think that "in use" covers are inappropriate. Where possible, I'd like to see the outlets facing "down", rather than "out." This, of course, mandates an exposed box.
I am afraid that GFI's would be too likely to nuisance-trip- and imagine resetting them with gloves on! Firefighter gear is also quite protective. Yet, I'd like to see some sort of protection...AFCI's, perhaps?

Does your area also require there to be a phone at those locations? In that case, perhaps mounting the receptacle in that enclosure would work.

Just some idle thoughts.

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#92838 - 04/12/05 06:02 PM Re: In use covers for firefighter receptacles
DougW Offline
Member

Registered: 06/08/03
Posts: 1083
Loc: North Chicago, IL
If we're operating in a hi-rise, we usually drop the cord out the window. Of course, with 8 stories being our max, we're not that far up - relatively speaking.

I'd mount the receptacle higher than the connectors to the standpipe - that should avoid your drip and puddle concern.

Running a separate system to be powered by a FD genset is an awesome idea!

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#92839 - 04/12/05 06:10 PM Re: In use covers for firefighter receptacles
tdhorne Offline
Member

Registered: 03/22/01
Posts: 344
Loc: Maryland, USA
No phone, only a jack station for a portable instrument. If the receptacles were in the communictaions enclosure we would need a specially built enclosure to keep the communictions wiring seperated from the power wires anyway. The boxes and conduit are always in the concrete so the outlets face out. I wonder if there is any kind of concrete tight box that would allow me to have the outlet facing down in a niche in the concrete. It would probably cost too much.
--
Tom Horne
_________________________
Tom Horne

"This alternating current stuff is just a fad. It is much too dangerous for general use" Thomas Alva Edison

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#92840 - 04/12/05 08:18 PM Re: In use covers for firefighter receptacles
tdhorne Offline
Member

Registered: 03/22/01
Posts: 344
Loc: Maryland, USA
 Quote:
If we're operating in a hi-rise, we usually drop the cord out the window. Of course, with 8 stories being our max, we're not that far up - relatively speaking.

I'd mount the receptacle higher than the connectors to the standpipe - that should avoid your drip and puddle concern.

Running a separate system to be powered by a FD genset is an awesome idea!


What I wanted to do was to install an inlet and transfer switch to allow the required outlets to be powered from an FD generator. The inspector I was speaking of decided that violated the amendments requirement that the circuit would be supplied from the buildings emergency circuit. Installing a totally separate system for generator supply would be wasteful and cost prohibitive.
--
Tom Horne
_________________________
Tom Horne

"This alternating current stuff is just a fad. It is much too dangerous for general use" Thomas Alva Edison

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#92841 - 04/12/05 09:16 PM Re: In use covers for firefighter receptacles
mhulbert Offline
Member

Registered: 10/19/04
Posts: 133
Loc: Anaheim, CA USA
What about this box (bottom of page): http://www.passandseymour.com/pdf/Q10.pdf
I don't know how much they cost, but they protect the rec a bit better.

Would the inspector take a padlock or kirk key that keeps the transfer switch in the right position. If the FD wanted to switch to their gennie, they could remove padlock with a key in the knox box, or bolt cutters (more likely). I would think that the danger lies in somebody like building maintenance turning the transfer switch off.

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