Category: Contributing Editors


Blogs from contributing Editors


Abandoned Structure Fires – Are Active Utilities To Blame?

By Nick Markowitz Jr.

There’s that old abandoned corner store building which has been sitting empty for close to 20 years now that all of a sudden catches fire one hot afternoon.  Of course right away you’re thinking it was kids fooling around with matches.  However that’s not what happened this time.  In conducting your investigation, witnesses tell you they saw smoke coming from the side of the building where the electric wires hooked in from the street.  Maybe its the old service wires they think.  While many an investigator may dismiss this because all utilities where turned off.  Where they really?

Turns out in this case the wiring was the culprit not the kids seen nearby playing.  How could this be possible?  Well it starts with how electric power is turned off to structures.  Typically an employee from the electric supplier comes out, pulls off the meter, then inserts a plastic cover in its place which seals off the meter base.  All fine and well but the problem is the wires from the meter out to the street are still energized and can deteriorate to the point that an arc fault develops.  This in turn can catch the building on fire.

A common myth that current has to be traveling through a wire for it to catch fire.  This is not true.  As long as voltage is present anywhere in a circuit, the potential for a fire is present.  When it comes to a fire starting, the old weakest link in the chain theory is where the fire will start.  When it comes to the installation of wiring outside, it starts to deteriorate as soon as it is installed due to sunlight hot and cold always being present.  We make the materials to resist this, but eventually they get so bad as they became a hazard.  This happens more often than you would think, but too many investigators are quick to blame it on the kids.

The question then is if this does happen then why do utility companies not cut off the wires completely especially if they know a building is going to sit empty for a long time?  The main reason is the cost to unhook then re-hook the wiring.  You can send a non lineman in a pick up truck to cap a meter base.  It takes a lineman in a utility truck to unhook the wiring or worse case they have to climb the pole.  Plus with utility companies always cutting back, linemen are already too busy handling emergencies.  Then you have cases like here in Pa. where power was deliberately kept on in old coal mine and industrial sites and substations to prevent the theft of copper wiring and other valuable materials.

Ok so is there something in the NEC-70 or other codes which could be enforced?  Well it all depends who you ask.  The utility companies do not follow NEC-70, they follow The National Electric Safety Code which sounds the same but is different and designed for utilities which are also regulated by state consumer/utility commissions.  NEC -70 only deals with voltage inside structures not utilities.

As long as the wires are not presenting a danger they can stay in place in perpetuity.  So if this is the case, should there be codes mandated as to when power wires should be completely cut off structures to prevent future problem?  Say after 1-3 years or more?   That what seems to be what it would take and it would have to be able to mandated on the utility company who at the moment has the final say.   But wait a minute, the customer paid for the wiring from the weather head to the meter base on the building, would that not make them responsible?  Yes it would if you could find them.  This is a matter which has been debated and handled differently many different times in as many different states as to who is responsible for what when it comes to a fire or other problem involving an electrical service to a structure.

What we need is one complete concise policy on this matter.   However, with giant utilities facing down communities and code making panels I do not see it coming any time soon.  So what’s the AHJ to do?  It starts by keeping an eye on abandoned properties and when you see service wires etc falling off a building or otherwise causing a hazard, immediately notify the utility.  Document the incident and if they refuse to do anything notify the state utility commission who regulates them.  They will be able to some fire under there feet.  Having the media there with you also does not hurt as well when its a serious situation which is being ignored.

Construction Concepts for the Fire Service

OK.  Now I’ve suckered you in.  I have to admit my choice of words was intentional.  This article WILL NOT BE about the concepts of Building Construction that may be of  concern to members of the fire service. It may touch on these subjects briefly and in broad general terms but is not a lecture to cover all bases . It is however, another attempt by me to share an idea that I ( and many others) have to better ourselves, others, and the Fire Service Industry. In my last article I made mention of the Brother /Sisterhood concept.  It made me think of some ways that we can try to improve a tradition that’s been around as long as the business itself.  I hope to compare building a house to building an improved Fire Service.

When a family decides to build a house it’s a massive undertaking that affects every member of the family. There are many aspects to think of. They have to think about what every aspect will mean in every one’s lives.  What will the financial outcomes be?  What will they do for temporary housing?  Where will they build?  What style of home will they decide on? What are the schools like for the children?  In the beginning the questions seem to be never ending. Most people will choose to seek advice from friends, family or maybe co-workers.  This is like choosing to start your career in the Fire Service.  A person who is taking this first step will have many questions.  What is it like inside a burning building   How do I get the training I may need?  What if I can’t handle it?  What else will I be made to do?  What if something happens?  Like deciding to build a house, this will be a very big step in a lot of folks lives.  Some of us, my self included, choose to make this decision while young. Some choose to wait until their children are grown.  Whenever the decision is made, it’s a step many never take. People who choose to become members in our departments will seek the advice of existing members.  They will seek out the person in the department who is open and willing to answer all of their questions.  This is an important time to make the right impression.  It wouldn’t be wise to let the old war horse be the only impression they see. In the same manner it wouldn’t be wise to let the newest junior firefighter give the candidate their only taste of the department either.  We must recognize that this is a rough time for this person.  This will be a a pivotal time for this member to decide if they will follow through with their membership or not.  I feel that we should choose someone to be a new candidate’s  mentor.  A mentor can be the one who answers the questions, or who may help teach the new skills.  A mentor must realize that not everyone who walks in to a fire station is cut out to be the nozzle-man on the next 4 alarm run.  While helping to shape the new candidate the mentor can report to the officer who can help shape trainings and opportunities that may help the candidate.  If there is a reason that the new member isn’t able to perform the functions the officer and mentor  may be able to help them decide if there’s something else they can do within the department to help the community. In today’s society there’s always something  for someone whose willing to give to do. Case in point, if you have a new candidate whose an accountant that isn’t comfortable going interior maybe they can become the treasurer.  Whatever it maybe  everyone has skills that will help in some way.

The next step in building a home is choosing a lot on which to build.  This is usually influenced by alot of things.  Some I’ve already mentioned schools, family, work , and many more.  This is like the new member trying to decide which department to join.  Again this decision is often influenced by many things.  Some may choose your  department because it closest to their home.  Other may choose your organization because of a special skill your department offers such as truck company or dive rescue  service.  What ever the reason we must remember that these folks chose to join your department.  We should feel honored that we are able to draw new members.  In these times finding volunteers is very difficult.  The impressions we make now will possibly affect that individual for ever.  We cannot afford to have the attitude that we will always be so fortunate to have members coming in.  Yes we should screen members carefully but to be arrogant enough to push people away because  someones not made to do the job is juvenile and in some cases maybe even criminal.

The next step in building a home is to build the foundation.  A considerable amount of time, effort and money are put in to assuring the foundation is a strong and sturdy as it can be.  The foundation is the base that will support the entire load of the rest of the house.  It’s not wrong to assume that one small imperfection may lead to future problems with the entire house.  This is similar to providing the new candidate the basics he or she will need.  If we provide partial information or possibly no information at all the foundation to this persons fire service career will be week.  The old saying you play like you practice is very true in this case.  If we fail to mention the importance of using SCBA , PASS Device, PPE  and all necessary safety equipment associated with our jobs  aren’t we depriving that individual of the foundations of safety in the fire service. Another old saying that holds some value here is the one about crawling before you walk  and walking before you run.  We must begin teaching all candidates from the same point regardless of age. How many times have you been in a class and seen the individual who obviously is lacking the prerequisite knowledge.  The fault lies with several persons.  I do not condemn the individual for seeking out the training and experience.  What I do feel needs mentioned is that sometimes a person should realize that you cannot take Vehicle Ops before you take the Awareness level class.  Sometimes it may be the fault of the chief or training officer who signs off school applications.  I don’t think I really need to expand on this too much. We have all seen it.  It happens for many reasons. All I can say is that the folks responsible for this are allowing themelves open to a world of bad happenings.  We’re all aware of these too.

The next step thats in every ones home building experience is to choose the style of house. OK so its probably a decision thats made before the foundation.  We all know the many styles of houses.  Theres  Colonial, Tudor, Ranch, and many many others.  It would be an obvious comparison to say these equate to the fire department functions  Engine, Truck, Rescue, or Squad. What I’d like to compare this to is the way new members chooe to carry themselves after the initial shock has worn off.  Yes I am going to make the often undesirable remarks on human nature.  I am not saying  that to be any of the following is bad or meant to be negative.  I am only mentioning this as a point to think about. After the “probationary” period has expired it’s common to see the changes in everyone.  What often starts as a quiet individual often mutates in to a mouthy arrogant know it all.  It’s possible to see that person stay the same  but everyone at some point will revert to their natural self. We should expect to see some change at a point where the person becomes comfortable with his/her surroundings.  We need to forsee these changes and try all we can to steer them in a direction thats fitting for both the organization and the member.

Again, I hope I’ve thrown some ideas out there to help better  people and organizations.  I welcome comments.

STAY SAFE

FIRE WALKER

New Electrocution Danger With Elevator Pits

A New Potentially Dangerous Electrocution Problem Found With Elevator Pits
A Continuing Look At Why We Need To Take a Hard Look At Elevator Codes and Revise Them.

By Nick Markowitz Jr.

I have previously written about the dangers sprinklers and shunt trip breakers pose to people riding in the cars of elevators, which I will review later in this article.  However, a new hazard I have found involves a dangerous electrocution hazard to the people who service the cars, the elevator mechanics.

With all the precautions taken to prevent electrocution hazards to service personnel, which includes the use of Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters, one area has been overlooked.  The alarm system used in the sump pump pit which warns when the sump pump has failed and the elevator pit is filling with water has been overlooked.  What I have found in a majority of the cases is theses alarms are not UL Listed assemblies and that 120 volts is present on the wire lead which goes to the float down in the pit.  This could seriously injure a service man if he accidentally cuts into the cord by bumping it with something or if the cord going to the pit deteriorates.  Additionally since this alarm is not UL Listed there is no way of assuring they have been properly designed and protected.  I can tell you from examining these units there is no way they would ever pass UL Listing as they are currently made.   They are in too small a junction box and have no fuse protection and allow high voltage on the probe.

A far better way to do this would be to use a Class 2 low voltage alarm assembly which could also then be backed up with a battery.  Better yet, since it is an essential part of the safety system serving the elevator, tie a float probe to a addressable monitor module of the fire system to supervise it.  So flooding can be identified well before the pit has filled and starts going into the pits lighting fixtures plugs and hydraulic fittings.  So once again another chapter of poor judgment when it comes to developing codes goes into my grand jury file for future use in prosecuting those who have failed to put the public’s safety above there own.

Also, talking about safety and elevators, the codes have failed to address serious life threatening issues when it comes to allowing sprinkler heads in shafts and allowing a shunt trip breaker to be used to shut off power to the elevator.  This situation could trap its occupants between floors to die of smoke inhalation.  In the first place, there is absolutely no reason why a sprinkler head is needed in a top of an elevator shaft which has an all metal car and 2 hour fire rated wall assembly, period.  There has never been a documented fire in a fire protected elevator shaft other than a minor paper fire from accumulated debris in the pit.  It makes sense to have a sprinkler head there, but not at the top.  And then to allow them in there using an unproven system to shut off power with a device which is known to fail and does not allow for interlocking to make sure occupants are out of the car before the power shuts off makes absolutely no sense.  I can tell you this, the first time I hear of a serious injury or death due to this failure of code officials to review and revamp this code my grand jury file on this matter will be turned over to the district attorneys office and plaintiff attorneys representing the injured.   I will personally see to it there is such a stink made in the media that reckless endangerment or homicide charges are filed against every person involved in that codes decision.

The problem starts with the way the power is shut off  to the car when sprinklers activate.  Instead of using a flow switch with dual contacts interlocked to the controller, which is a sure way to know water is moving in the line.  They instead rely on a heat detector 20 degrees lower then the sprinkler head is set that is mounted within 2 ft of the sprinkler to do the job of initiating the shunt trip breaker to shut off power.  Shunt trip breakers are known to fail
and are no longer permitted by NEC code to shut off electrical services which are remote from each other.  Because of this known high failure rate a heavy duty contactor should be used instead.  Then we have the sprinkler head in the elevator mechanical room again.  Why?  This is a 2hr fire rated room and all the electrical and controls are contained within metal pipe and cabinets which prevent a fire from getting serious.  When the sprinkler head does come on it can present a serious environmental hazard because of all the hydraulic oil and greases which are stored in these rooms which are combustible not flammable.

Then there is the problem of the sprinklers accidently activating and the shunt never energizing because a fitting has cracked or head blown off.  A flow switch should be used for this operation not a heat detector which is not interlocked. You also have the problem with this whole shunt trip nonsense of it not being properly wired.  Many electricians have not been properly trained to wire in a shunt trip breaker and are not familiar with fire systems.  Fire systems techs are not electricians and the shunt trip circuits on elevators are complex.  Many never do work properly as they should without extensive trouble shooting.  I have never had the problem being cross trained but most personnel are not.
If the code panels are seriously concerned about fires in elevator shafts they need to do a total and complete revamp and look regarding this issue and then make sure all existing setups are modified to prevent problems.

Here are some suggestions to the code making panel if they’re really serious about fires in shafts and mechanical rooms.

1# Replace the heat detector with a flow switch. This ensures any water flow will be detected and power shut off.

2# Before a power shut off to a car takes place, insure it has stopped at the closest landing so occupants can safely exit.

3# Eliminate the shunt trip and install a heavy duty contactor instead.  This way you are assured power is off.

4# Look at Deionized Water systems which prevent electrical shock in shaft areas which they’re worried about and use a clean agent or dry powder in the equipment room to prevent damage to environment.

Of course it is going to take some one being killed before this code is finally reviewed and fixed but what worries me most is how professional engineers which sit on many of these panels ever approved it in the first place. They should all have their licenses removed in my opinion for passing such a law. If a plain ole electrician / volunteer firefighter can see the dangers why can they not.

Fire-Burglar Alarm Issues In National Retail Stores

Resolving False Fire-Burglar Alarm Issues In National Retail Stores
What you should know.

By Nick Markowitz Jr.

There’s that new dollar store which opened up last year and you have just been called by the community’s fire department there to check out a fire alarm signal which proves to be false.  A pull station has been smacked into by a stocking cart and broken and needs replaced.  You talk to the store manager who puts in a request to their district office to get a tech on site ASAP.  That afternoon or next morning a tech shows up and replaces the station and resets the system.  Well that’s at least how it is suppose to work.

The realty is more like this.  3 to 7 days later or longer a tech finally shows up, while the system kept false alarming or had to be kept on hold.  So what’s going on?  Is the store manager being a jerk or upper management or the company coming to fix the system being lax?  Most times it goes back to how a work order is handled as it goes up the food chain to be completed.  The store manager calls and notifies their district manager who is then to notify either the regional or corporate office of the problem.  Typically it is the Loss Prevention Dept who then gets the request and contacts the national accounts alarm company who arranges to get a contractor on site.  Now, no one alarm company can have a technician in every city.  So what they do is contract smaller alarm companies to do their service and installation work for them when it is out of the area they normally handle.  Again a work order is issued and a dispatcher prioritizes the order and gets a technician on site as soon as possible.  The technician repairs the problem, gets it signed off by store manager, and is on his way problem solved.  This is how it works most times, but if there is still problems the whole process needs repeated.

So how do you get a retailers attention? Ask for the district manager’s office number.  If that does not work, get out your citation book and start writing.  Every time a false costs $500.00 you will get their attention sooner or later.  Worse case scenario shut them down if a hazard exists.  When there pocket gets hit they usually pay attention.  No fire jurisdiction should ever have to get that drastic but this is sometimes what is needed.  Most retailers try to be good neighbors and get a tech on site ASAP while others can care less.

With as bad as the economy has gotten, you can believe maintenance and security are two areas seeing cut back in stores.  They are not seen as profit making centers within the business.  Unfortunately though, most bean counters never take into fact that security and maintenance make sure profits come in the door and should be a first priority.  I recently talked with a store manager around Christmas who needed their cash register check out monitors repaired to be able to make sales flow better.  After all, you want to keep customers happy with fast service and instead of getting a new monitor they let them all go bad.  On top of this they cut staff hours as well, at what is normally their biggest sales time of the year.  The result is long lines due to one register open instead of 4 and mad consumers and profit fall.

Sometimes you just have to wonder who has control of the switch at these stores.  It is no wonder we are seeing so many fold up due to strings of bad decisions which ultimately effect first responders.  This includes all the garbage, shut off sprinklers, unrepaired and inoperable fire alarms etc, and other hazards they leave behind when they go out of business.

Residential Fire Sprinkler Questions

Before We Go Full Steam Ahead With Residential Sprinklers,
There are Questions ??? Which Must be Answered.

By Nick Markowitz Jr.
Fire Investigator and Alarm contractor

With the passage of ICC regulations now requiring fire protection sprinklers in residential properties, there are many questions which need answered before we start enforcing them. That is if the builders and their cronies do not see to it that we exclude that part of the ICC Fire Code here in Pennsylvania and many other states.

Having spent many years dealing with commercial fire sprinklers and their problems due to the below zero cold weather we get, and low water pressure we have in this area, I am already familiar with all the problems which are going to follow us over into the residential area.  First off, what about the residential systems? Will they be required to be monitored 24/7 by a monitoring company or will a simple bell do like we have on some commercial systems?  When that bell does go off, lets hope someone hears it and calls 911 . If a bell or horn does not do it, like in rural areas, will insurance companies then require monitoring to get a fire policy?

While we’re talking about insurance companies, will they raise residential rates due to all the damage a sprinkler system can cause? A customer of mine built a big home in Fayette County and was among one of the first to install a residential sprinkler system in the late 1980’s.  Upon notifying his insurance company he installed them, his policy went up 50% instead of going down because now there was the danger of all the water damage should a sprinkler head pop.  Needless to say he turned them off and depends on the smoke detectors.

Which brings up another question, if a residential owner turns off his required sprinkler system and then has a fire will the insurance company not pay, and could he face a code violation citation? Then talking about accidental trips what about the cold weather we have here and home systems popping during the winter?  Homes are often vacant while people are vacationing down south “We call them Snow Birds” or selling their home.  This is when traditionally we turn all water off in homes and lower or turn off heat all together.  Will we then have to insist on dry or anti freeze systems and monitored low temp alarms being used to prevent accidents?  Better yet, what about pre-action systems in a home?  How many heads will get knocked off by kids playing or people moving furniture etc.?

Then we have the problem with water supply.  Will municipal water suppliers demand a separate water meter and then require you pay commercial rate for sprinkler water?  You better believe it,  if they can get away with it.  Then again, what about the water pressure itself?  If there is not enough pressure, or homes are driven off a well, will we be required to install inground tanks and water pumps to supply adequate pressures like we do with commercial buildings?  These will also have to be supervised and monitored electrically?

You also would have the additional cost of back flow devices.  Will it be required they’re tested every year just like they do in commercial buildings?  Will the residential sprinklers need annual testing as well?  What about water hardness, corrosion, and scale?  Will systems be mandated for this testing and inspection as well like we are suppose to do with commercial systems every 5 years?

Yes I see many problems coming.  How many more trips will local fire departments make in the coming years, especially in the winter time?  The big question 20 years from now when that sprinkler system is really needed, will it even work just like the Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCI) which are required in the Electrical Code?  Well as usual I guess we are going to find out the hard way like we did with GFCI Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters, which 10 years out stopped working and a new design standard needed put in place.  I am just waiting for all the usual confusion and everything else that goes on every time we pass new codes and years of effort to get things straightened out.  Just once I would like to see a code completely thought out and field tested to look for and eliminate problems before they happen, so that wasted money and man hours are left at a minimum.  Sprinklers YES problems NO.

Fire Alarm Activation – FD Notification Times Need Improved

By Nick Markowitz Jr.

We need faster response times between when a fire alarm signal is received at a 3rd party monitoring center and when 911 actually dispatches it

When a fire alarm activates most of them send a signal to a 3rd party monitoring center called a central station.   They are manned 24/7 which then retransmits the information to the appropriate county’s 911 communication center and this is where the problem begins.

Most fire panels can get their signal to the 3rd party facility in under a minute and in some cases under 30 seconds.  It then on average takes 1-2 minutes for the 3rd party operator to pick up the phone and place the call to 911. The information is displayed on their terminal by the automation software being used by the central station alarm receiver.  When the 3rd party operator calls the 911 operator they then have to type in the information they receive.  That information is then sent to dispatchers who using CAD Computer Operated Dispatch computers designed to help determine which fire units are called.

This is where time starts to bog down.  I have seen 911 centers in SW Pa. take up to 9 minutes from the time they are called to when the tones to alert firefighters is sounded.

One way to close this gap would be to be able to have the information the 3rd party operator has on their screen also be able to be displayed on the 911 operators terminal when they are contacted.  This information could then be instantly transferred to the dispatcher.  Also 911 centers need to be much more aggressive in demanding from their CAD software vendors products, which can handle anomalies where you have communities with same sounding names and streets.

How many horror stories over the years have happened because the CAD software has screwed up and dispatch delayed?  I had just such an example happen to me where I am converting systems over to a central station which where formally monitored directly at communities dispatch center.

I was having a problem at an apartment building which was causing a false fire alarm.  The alarm was not giving an indication in the building as it should have where it was coming from, and after doing a preliminary check over of the system the problem turned out to be a bad smoke detector in the laundry area.  I went up to the fire dept to talk to the duty officer to discuss a strategy to try and stop the false alarms when my phone rang.   It was the central station the building was going off again and they had already contacted 911 before calling me.  I got in my vehicle to meet the firefighters at the building but after I left it was still almost 2 minutes before they got notified from 911 which I heard coming over my scanner. This never would have happened when this community was dispatching its own calls.  2-3 minutes may not seem like a big amount but when it comes to a fire it can be life or death when in 3 minutes a room can be totally consumed by a fire.  There is no golden hour like you have with serious trauma victims.

With all this new technology including the 911 center being able to send information right to the responding vehicles laptops it is time we look at the beginning of the call and making it more efficient there.

Digital TV Service – How a New Technology is Actually Putting Many At Risk During Emergencies

For many people who live outside the city limits and even for many within the city limits the transition from over the air Analog to Digital TV transmission has been a nightmare.

With analog transmission, even when you could not get a great picture you could still hear the broadcast, which many people do to hear their local news.  They do not watch a lot of TV either because they’re busy doing other things or can not afford cable or satellite service.  Many people further out of town that do have satellite but do not have cable listen to local TV news broadcasts using a Multi Band Radio. But that all went away in June 2009 when Analog broadcasting went away except for a small handful of low power UHF TV stations who are still allowed to transmit in analog.  Those handful have very limited coverage areas and all automated programming.  So by June most over the air customers went and bought a converter to use on there analog set or bought a new Digital TV.

Everyone soon discovered when they scanned for channels either there was no service available or only 1 or 2 channels.  The other ones they got where gone, no matter what type of fancy digital ready antenna they bought.  Radio listeners where totally out of luck as TV no longer uses that VHF band they listened on.  People who bought portable Digital TVs to use while camping or at the summer homes also found themselves out of luck as well.

So what’s going on?  The problem is in the digital service itself.  It has a much smaller service area and unlike analog where you could use a tuner to bring in the channel, once you are out of the digital contour wave there is nothing there to tune in. With digital its there or not, no exceptions like with analog.  So now we have many citizens who are unable to tune into a local broadcast during an emergency in there local area.

Yes they can sometimes get local channels on satellite but often times not.  So now what? No problem we just tune in the good old AM/FM radio.  But this is also a problem with so many stations playing canned automated music and talk no one is at the studios to give emergency information or news as to what is going on.  Now what the only option left is a Weather Radio ,which can let you know about bad weather approaching and can also let you know you need to evacuate because a poisonous cloud from an industrial accident is approaching.  This is only if the local emergency agency is smart enough to know that they can do this by contacting the weather service.  The only other way to get info would be if you had a dial up internet account.  Or if you’re lucky you have satellite based internet or your cell phone has internet enabled.  Yes our friends outside the city and in the country are now on there own thanks to the digital revolution they have been left behind and in danger.

Will we now have to have the Digital Rural Act like we did the Rural Electrification Act in the 40’s to bring electricity to rural areas?  It appears so.  They still heavily use Citizen Band Radios, CB’s in the country because cellular service is spotty at best.  So while the digital age was suppose to bring all these great services to the masses it is once again the haves and have not’s.  This also goes with digital radio as well.  The Big AM radio stations like KDKA 1020 AM which broadcasts in both analog and digital can not be heard at night out side of its home county on a car radio because the digital hash noise.  I was recently visiting a friend in Erie Pa and on way home at night I used to be able to hear KDKA loud and clear.  Now its not there.  Nothing but noise and its digital signal bleeds digital hash noise over to close by stations at 1010 and 1030 making them not being able to be heard as well.  Using the current digital technology at night is a bad deal for AM instead of using Ibequety they should have used DRM Digital Radio Monadial like they are using in Europe.  But when do we ever use common sense in this country?

Yes we now have a bigger digital divide than ever and putting more peoples lives at risk than ever before, but we have HD American Idol.

Article by Nick Markowitz Jr