Mandated By Law

[Editor's note:This letter is in response to John R. Hall's column "Act Fast and You Can Buy R-22 Online," Oct. 20.]

Remember the phrases "save our earth," "system of checks and balances," and "ignorance is no excuse"?

Most of us contractors who care about doing it right because the law mandated it still are. The big secret is we get paid for it, too!

But wait a minute. How come anyone can walk right into a local auto parts store and get themselves a 1-pound can of R-134a without a certification, any day of the week?

Isn't that what the law is about (i.e., stopping ignorant people from venting potentially harmful gas into our atmosphere and fine those that do)? Or, was it all just about money to be made in a reasonably mature market?

Hmm. I wonder.

Mark Stansbury
Mark IV Environmental Systems Inc.
Greenwood, Ind.

The Unsung Professional

I have been in the HVACR industry for 16 years and have been readingThe Newsfor as many years.The Newsis both informative and instrumental for anyone in our business.

However, I have noticed that articles will profile CEOs, contractors, manufacturing companies, field technicians, as well as technical applications, but the poor inside sales guy (yours truly) is ignored.

We are the people who call on all of these companies to sell them refrigerant gas in this most competitive market. We inform them of the latest refrigerant products, address their needs on current and future pricing, product availability, EPA regulations, and the general outlook of the market.

We're the people no one sees, just a voice on the phone. A voice that means something to all of these people.

So maybe in some future edition of The News, you can ask all those people who call their inside sales guy to give them a big thank you for always being there for them, and for making sure they get their refrigerant when they need it, and for that extra bit of customer service that seems to be disappearing, not just in our industry but, sadly, in all industries.

Michael Franco
Sales Representative
Refron Inc.
Long Island City, N.Y.

Don't Be In Such A Rush

"Fear Factor? Try Being A Technician" [Oct. 20] was an excellent "Our Insights" column. There was someone who luckily saved his foot or ankle after falling off of a 10-foot ladder.

Unfortunately, that same thing happened to me, but it had a bad ending. As a consequence, I am still paying. I wish this had only happened in a dream, but this is reality.

Summer was very busy for us, and it was mid-July. It was my last call for the day, and it was around 9 p.m.

I figured out the electrical problem, went to the side street, and noticed the fire escape ladder to climb up to the roof. I decided I would use the fire escape ladder. That way, instead of untying and tying the ladder on the truck, I'd save 10 to 15 minutes.

I used that fire escape ladder and climbed on the roof. Just as I thought, it was an electrical problem: fuses were burnt. I went down to the truck and got the new fuses. I climbed up that same ladder. I replaced the fuses and turned on the A/C.

Everything was back to normal and running. I was coming down the same way I went up and down before, but this last trip, all of a sudden the fire escape ladder came right down from 10 to 14 feet high and landed on my two feet on the hard concrete. My right ankle was completely fractured.

It's all over, my beautiful, healthy life. I've gone through the hell of pain and suffering. I have had major surgery with foreign material inserted in my body, such as a metal plate and screws and so on. It's been almost four months now.

I still cannot touch my feet to the ground - not yet. I'm just dreaming of when I will be back on my feet. The doctor says not right now. It will take a lot of time and pain before I'm back on my feet.

Reflection: Is it worth it for you to save time? My advice to all those technicians is to take extra precaution, especially with these fire escape ladders. Better yet, never use them.

Miguel Barreto
Mike's Refrigeration Service Plus
Bogota, N.J.

Note: Letters should include the author's full name, address, and daytime telephone number. All letters may be edited for length and clarity, and may be published in any medium. Please feel free to include your title and the name of your company. Information may be withheld at the author's request.

Publication date: 12/01/2003