NEC Offenses Overseas
John Bersch of the United States Air Force recently sent us some Code violation photos he took in Iraq.
Bersch is nearing the end of an eight-month tour and thought you might like to see the types of installations he’s recently run across while serving our country overseas.
“As you can see from the pictures, the NEC is optional over here in Iraq. Although I didn’t do any of the work in these pictures, I was sent to this location to fix many problems. Based on the circumstances, you cannot blame the craftsman in many of these instances, except for the extension cord.
“The dining facility had two large refrigerated beverage holders plugged in to this one extension cord until they stopped working for some unapparent reason. The small panel was attached to the wooden wall in what was a shower and sink area. That panel fed some lights, a hot water heater, and a small 240/120V transformer mounted by the sink. Happy shaving!
“The next photo is of a 150A homemade plywood distribution panel with wood covers. That’s me disconnecting a wire that wouldn't trip the breaker. It was just sparking and dancing in the dirt and wouldn't trip. Our lieutenant almost stepped on it. People are scared of electricity for some reason. The large distribution panel is still in use today, as we were not allowed to fix it because it was a contractor’s responsibility. The wires were stripped back and run through the plywood — neat on the front side and quite a rat’s nest on the back of the wood.
“Last but not least is the hot plate special. This hot plate was run off the plywood distribution panel you just saw. It is just a heating element with no temp control. The only switch is on the British-style outlet. The wires were just shoved into the receptacle. As you can see from the picture, it took them several near fires before they installed the rocks on the wood table. Safety first! We weren't sure if they were still using it, but as we left the tent a local national was entering with a tea kettle. Question answered.”
“As I said at the beginning of this e-mail, most of these installations were born out of necessity and feature a lack of training and a huge lack of supplies. “No Grainger to call here. Besides, the individuals were probably not even electricians. They were just soldiers doing the best they could with what they had on hand at the time. I hope your readers enjoy the pictures.”