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Showing posts from June 19, 2011

False Alarms in Philadelphia

We are in Philadelphia this weekend and there will be much more about what brought us here in a few days. Even while traveling, I can't forget my day job though.  It is fun for me to compare how different jurisdictions handle the false alarm issue.  It appears that there has been some form of legislation for burglar alarm systems as far back as 1993 in Philadelphia, but it had not been as effective as desired.  In 2008, the city council passed a resolution authorizing a study of the false alarm problem. The resolution states that in 2006 there were 90,373 false alarms and in 2007, there were 92,281.  That is quite a few--averaging out to almost 253 per day or about one every 6 minutes.  This study appears to have led to code updates. A synopsis of the updates and the required registration form are located here.

A quick search found these facts on burglar alarm systems in Philadelphia:  
Annual registration is $50Two "free" alarms per yearFalse Alarm charge is $75/alarmUnreg…

Ferret Friday #3

We have discovered that our ferret is an addict.  There is one thing that he loves most in this world, and  I am sure that you would never guess what it is.  We don't even know how he first discovered it, but all it took was leaving the kitchen pantry door open one time.  What is this crack for ferrets you ask?  Coffee Mate French Vanilla creamer in those cute little individual cups (and if you dare to follow the link, the comments make me think our ferrets isn't the only one that is addicted).

I am sure that it started out innocently enough.  The tabs on the little cups are probably perfect for ferret teeth to grip.  The weight is probably a satisfying heft without being too heavy. The cups are small, portable, and easily hidden. And hide them he did.  But then, a tooth may have accidentally slipped through the foil and released the contents and a new discovery was made.  I am sure that he thought "Wow...a treasure and a treat."  Since his first taste, he has been t…

Back to the Future False Alarms

Since my arrival in the False Alarm Reduction Unit, there have been many things that I have not understood and needed to learn.  Now that I am beginning to have a grasp on the job and what needs to be done, I am able to start finding answers to some of the items that bothered me but weren't of the highest priority.  One such item was a warning message that would pop up every day when I would process alarms. I have already discussed the system that we use in a previous post.  The message warned that alarms had already been processed for the day I was preparing to work on.  When I asked others in the office about the message, they couldn't give me an answer.  For them, it had "always" been that way and no one in the office (except me) thought anything of it or seemed to be bothered by it.  Of course, with so many other pressing matters, it would bother me for the time that it took to click the button to dismiss the warning, and then I would go about my day and forget a…

Poison Ivy

I do not have a green thumb.  In fact, I consider it a success if a plant survives for a month under my care.  However, there is one plant that I cannot kill no matter how hard I try.  Since moving to our current home, I have discovered a plant that will grow under the most extreme conditions.  It will grow with the most hideous neglect. It will grow where nothing else will grow.  If I remove it from one flower bed, it will happily occupy a different one.  It comes back year after year with no action on my part at all.  In fact, it seems to grow just to taunt me.  The plant seems to be as happy in shade as it is in full sun.  In early spring, the cute tiny leaves are a beautiful red which changes to green in summer.  It can adapt to its environment by becoming a climber or a freestanding shrub.  Although I try to be as earth friendly as I can, I have resorted to chemical warfare to render my yard safe from this pestilent plant.  My first encounter with the plant came about 6 years ago…

Snakes in the Store

The story of the deer that caused power outages last week was on my mind yesterday when I ran the alarm calls for the weekend.  Imagine my surprise when the cause of a false alarm at a retail store was purported to be a snake.  It is believed that the snake entered the control room for warmth as temperatures dropped.  The snakes movement set off the motion detectors and thus the alarm.  I believe that this is the first snake on record for my unit, although we have plenty of alarms caused by other animals.  In fact, many alarms at warehouse stores are caused by birds that have entered and not been able to exit.  What is the strangest animal that you have heard caused a false alarm?

Old Faithful--the watch

Friday morning, I had an idea for a post and was just sitting down to start typing when a high pitched noise began emanating from the vicinity of my nightstand.  This wasn't a noise that could be ignored.  Do you know the sound a mosquito makes as it buzzes your head before making a landing to feast on you?  Imagine that, but with a higher pitch and a higher volume. I have a low tolerance for annoyance, so of course I began looking for the source.  First, I checked all of the electrical items in the bedroom.  On the second round, I went so far as to unplug things and hold the transformers (what are those chunky plug things called anyway?) up to my ear.  When I still hadn't found the noise, I began rummaging around in my nightstand itself since the noise really did seem to be coming from that area.  Still nothing. I was reaching the end of rational behavior at this point.  In desperation, I began picking up items that couldn't possibly be making the noise.  When I picked up…

As spring slips away...

Spring is a time when hope pops up in the form of flowers.  As summer comes creeping in and stealing away the beautiful colors of spring, I thought I would share one example of what makes spring my favorite season.
I saw this pink dogwood tree across the street from a training symposium I attended back in April.  The colors were so intense that I had to cross the street and take a closer look.  We had pink dogwoods where I grew up, but the colors were much lighter and in the pastel end of the spectrum.  I love this version even more.
As a child, the dogwood was one of my favorite trees.  I was so excited when we dug one up from my grandfather's woods and transplanted it in our yard right outside my bedroom window.  I have often wondered what that tree looks like today.
For some reason, I despised Crepe Myrtles as a child.  Our current home has several crepe myrtles. I now recognize that they are a useful food source for the birds that I love to watch so they will remain (and I no …