Smoke detectors and fire alarms are a critical safety device for your home. You should make sure that your smoke detectors are properly installed, your batteries are fresh and are sufficient to warn you in the event of a fire. According to the National Fire Protection Association, between 2003-2006, more than 66 percent of home fire deaths occurred in homes without a working smoke alarm.
In late 2007, the United States Fire Administration issued recall notices on hundreds of thousands of smoke detectors and fire alarms. The defective products recalled included Digital Security Controls FSA and FSB Series Smoke Detectors, BRK Brand Hard-Wired Battery Back-Up Smoke Alarms Models 4120SB and 4120B and First Alert Onelink Battery-Powered Smoke and Combination Smoke/Carbon Monoxide (CO) Alarms.
We aren’t talking the recall of pencils or cell phones here; we are talking the recall of defective smoke detectors and fire alarms. Adding fuel to this fire is the fact that the majority of homes built in the 1960s and 1970s were built with aluminum wiring which commonly overheat thus causing a potentially fatal fire when mixed with a defective fire alarm.
According to the United States Fire Administration a defective smoke detector or fire alarm proves especially fatal when the fire occurs at night. During the night most people are disabled or sleeping and the fire may be hidden. Shortly after the fire begins to spread the smoke accumulates and can cause people and pets to pass out from smoke inhalation.
What makes a fire alarm defective? Oftentimes the fire alarm is made with defective materials that overheat and melt from the fire before they sound off. Sometimes the defective fire alarm is affected by the dense smoke and doesn’t go off.
In July of 2009, Kidde recalled a dual sensor smoke alarm. The company found there was an electrostatic discharge damaging the unit which hindered its ability to warn home owners of a fire. In March of 2007, Digital Security Controls recalled a smoke detector that failed to reliably detect smoke.
It’s a good idea when buying or renting your home or apartment to make sure the wiring has been since updated and is no longer aluminum. Additionally, testing your home fire alarm and smoke detector once a month could save a life. Test and retest the battery as well as research recalled and defective products on the market.
Learn more about smoke detectors and alarms HERE.
Brett Emison is currently a partner at Langdon & Emison, a firm dedicated to helping injured victims across the country from their primary office near Kansas City. Mainly focusing on catastrophic injury and death cases as well as complex mass tort and dangerous drug cases, Mr. Emison often deals with automotive defects, automobile crashes, railroad crossing accidents (train accidents), trucking accidents, dangerous and defective drugs, defective medical devices.