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NJ Radon Test Kits
Fire Safety: NFPA & CPSC Article on Defective Smoke Detectors

(as reprinted from NFPA Journal, May-June 2001 issue,
The Leading Source of Fire and Life Safety Information)

William Koffelís ďIn ComplianceĒ column in the March/April 2001 issue asked how we can solve the residential fire problem, which is best answered through consumer education. Unfortunately, the fire safety community has failed to devote sufficient attention to this vital effort. Witness the fact that in 1994, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reported that there were 16 million smoke detectors in U.S. homes that werenít working. Ironically, CPSC found that there were more homes with non-functioning smoke detectors than there were homes without smoke detectors. In other words, in 1994, more than one out of every four homes with smoke detectors were just as exposed to fire danger as those without smoke detectors. Itís safe to assume that the number of unprotected homes is even higher now, given the advanced age of detectors counted in 1994, not including missing or dead batteries.

CPSC found that the greatest number of faulty residential detectors were the ionization-type, battery-operated, which isnít surprising, considering that theyíre the cheapest and the easiest to install. Obviously, kitchens arenít the place to install the ionization type. Even minimal cooking activities will cause them to alarm....The detector of choice for kitchens, then, should be the photoelectric type, preferably AC-powered, with battery back-up. The fire safety community should include this recommendation in its public education campaign.

Of equal importance in informing the public is the matter of smoke entry. The test button canít test for this important feature, whereas an aerosol product can. I add, not just any aerosol, but one thatís been approved by a recognized independent testing laboratory and has also been approved by the smoke detector manufacturer concerned, as provided by NFPA 72....

The foregoing suggestions, in addition to others, should be part of an aggressive public education effort conducted by, among others, NFPA, fire marshals, and insurance companies. Those involved in writing/maintaining building codes need to be involved, as well.

Leon Cooper
Founder, Home Safeguard Industries
Malibu, California

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Custom Printed Carbon Monoxide Detector Badge (CP300) Limited Offer
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