Exposed Outdoor Main Breaker problems

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In my area, all commercial buildings must have an exterior MAIN breaker, and it can not be locked. This is so the fire department can shot off the power quickly if there is a fire or other disaster. While that makes sense, it causes another problem. It seems there are some idiots in town that like to go around shutting off the breakers. One local bar gets their power shut off almost weekly, which not only shuts off all the lights, but also all the electronics, which include all the video games, the ATM machine, the tv sets, the juke box, and more. Plus the refrigeration units. Sonme of these devices need to be completely rebooted, and if there's a pizza in the pizza oven it's hard to get it cooked properly after a power outage.
I've heard of other businesses suffering from this too.
Fortunately, someone got caught doing it, and they were arrested. But there are more than one person, because it still happens.
The bar owner inquired with both an electrician and the fire department, and was told they can not lock the breaker in any way.
While I'm not connected to any of these businesses, I am aware of the problem, and know the owner of that bar. He says it's costing him money everytime the power goes off, because it can take an hour to get some of the stuff working again, and he has to pay overtime to his employees, and loses sales, has ruined pizzas, and shuts down the credit card machine, which is a chore to get working again, and more....
Isn't there something that can be done? Why cant the Fire Dept install their own lock, and give the owner a key? I decided to post this, to see if other communities have any sort of solution.
I suggested the bar put a security camera above the breaker, with a Battery backup on the camera. The owner liked the idea, but said that would cost money to install, and someone would probably break the camera.
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On Mon, 15 Dec 2014 04:20:11 -0600, snipped-for-privacy@spamblocked.com wrote:

Thee is no reason that it cannot be locked and the fire department not have a universal key. It is done in our town for many businesses for building access. The problem is you have morons making the rules.

Along with an emergency light that goes on to help light the box so the camera can get a good shot of the perp.
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On Monday, December 15, 2014 5:50:13 AM UTC-5, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

+1
That's the problem. No locks around here and the FD doesn't have any problems. If they need to cut power, they just cut the small seal on the meter and pull it. IDK what special provisions they may have for big businesses, but for residential, small business, that's all they do.
Time for the folks affected in town to make this an issue and get someone with some sense to address it. It trivial for FD to cut through a small padlock with bolt cutters. And even that would stop the casual drunk, mischief makers, etc. It's really, really dumb that something like that isn't allowed.

Probably don't even need battery backup, thought that would give coverage after the interruption. But just one run off AC would give coverage right up to the disconnect. Even a realistic fake cam would probably discourage most.
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trader_4 posted for all of us...

That can be done but we had two FF's that were sent to the ER - one for thermal burns to the face and the other for deafness. The result of an arc flash of pulling the meter at a convenience store where there was a fault in the electrical service.
I recommend the municipality dump this disconnect idea and make Knox boxes mandatory. Less damage with and faster than forcing entry.
--
Tekkie

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*There are padlocks available that have a notch built into the shank to mak e it easier for them to be cut off with bolt cutters. There are also padlo cks available that have brass shanks which are easier to cut than hardened steel. See if you can get approval to use one of those types. Another alt ernative is to hide a key for the department to find in the event of an eme rgency. Perhaps a lockbox that the fire department has a key to might work .
http://www.mcmaster.com/#padlocks/=v162ew
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On 12/15/2014 04:20 AM, snipped-for-privacy@spamblocked.com wrote: X
<snip> >

That was an excellent suggestion and a security camera system is actually not that expensive. The camera could be put in an area high enough up that a vandal could not easily get at it.
I'd also put a huge bright sign near the breaker stating the area is monitored.
Heck, the sign plus a good fake camera might even do the job.
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On Monday, December 15, 2014 5:20:21 AM UTC-5, snipped-for-privacy@spamblocked.com wrote:

Around here there are no outside main breakers, the fire department pulls the meter. Its quick and easy:)
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On 12/15/2014 07:40 AM, bob haller wrote:

Yep. I was going to post the same thing but you beat me to it.
A vandal is very unlikely to mess with a meter but it can be removed in a matter of seconds.
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On 12/15/2014 4:20 AM, snipped-for-privacy@spamblocked.com wrote:

...

"WHY?" -- "Because" :)
It's up to the locality to make the rules; to best of my knowledge it's not covered in the NEC so there's not even a precedent there to refer to.
The security camera, etc., is a way that might discourage at least some and they're not expensive; surely not in comparison to the nuisance factor and cost he's already suffered so if that's his excuse it's not bothering him _that_ much.
As another also mentioned, it's time to get the issue raised by the C of Commerce or other group of businesses and get one of the alternative solutions accepted if it is, as sounds, a repetitive thing happening.
Sometimes it's better to get forgiveness than permission; if it were mine I'd probably take action any way...something as trivial as just a tie wrap would likely deter about 90% of the casual vandals who're just doing it on a lark and yet isn't much to get off if needs....or even just a wire tie that have to take the time to undo might be enough...
The more substantial locks specific to the purpose are, of course, another solution and if the Fire Chief won't agree to a solution, it's time for serious action by those affected to their city council, etc., ...
Not aware of it having been any serious problem around here; at least hasn't made the news outlets...
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On 12/15/14, 5:20 AM, snipped-for-privacy@spamblocked.com wrote:

Maybe do like the banks, and attach an exploding dye pack to the switch !
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On 12/15/2014 10:57 AM, Retired wrote:

Years ago when there were still fire alarm boxes, they coated the lever with a blue grease that was almost impossible to wash off.
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On Monday, December 15, 2014 12:41:47 PM UTC-5, philo  wrote:

!


We coated a bunch of fire alarms with gentian violet powder.
Good stuff, it's almost invisible until it hits moisture then it's bright p urple.
We caught the first kid that way, then the others started pulling the alarm with a coat hanger.
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On 12/15/2014 2:33 PM, TimR wrote:

They used to do fire alarm handles with UV glow stuff. Gloves and rags are cheap, to isolate from hands.
--
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On 12/15/2014 01:33 PM, TimR wrote:

yeah, most anything can be out-smarted
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On 12/15/2014 02:33 PM, TimR wrote:

You can't do that! That's entrapment.
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On 12/15/2014 10:57 AM, Retired wrote:

Yeah, the firemen would really like that NOT.
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In typed:

I would be interested in knowing which State or town has this requirement.
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Aparently there are still a few backwards communities that still have this requirement.
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On Monday, December 15, 2014 5:02:53 PM UTC-5, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

"Still" would seem to imply that it was common in the past. This is the first i've heard of it.
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On Mon, 15 Dec 2014 16:59:57 -0800 (PST), trader_4

Me too. It sounds more like legislation made by the clueless. In my experience, if the fire department wants in, they go in. It might not be pretty tho. They might just rip that lock off with a fire axe.
I have also seen them take out meters the same way. Pop the seal, snap the ring off and pull the meter with a few quick flicks of the wrist.
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