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The problem is usually a weak or improper battery. Replace with a fresh battery as recommended by the manufacturer.
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Smoke detector recall – 120,000 purchased units are affected
Six brands of battery-operated smoke detectors are being recalled because they may not sound in the event of a fire. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is urging anyone who purchased a battery-operated smoke detector on or after July 10, 1992, to check the unit immediately to see if it is involved in this recall. The brands and models affected are:
To identify an affected detector, examine the label on the back of the unit for the model and date codes listed above. The aforementioned is courtesy of NFPA Fire News – Feb./Mar. 1993, Issue 793.
3.5 million smoke detectors were recalled. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has announced the recall of 3.5 million smoke detectors whose alarms may fail to sound in a fire. The electrically powered smoke detectors, manufactured from October 1987 to March 1990 by BRK Electronics of Aurora, Ill., were marketed under the brand names of BRK, First Alert, and Family Gard. None of the company’s battery-operated detectors are being recalled, the commission said. The commission said BRK had not received any reports of incidents or injuries associated with alarm failure. The commission warned that, because the detectors are wired into a building’s electrical system, consumers should not attempt to remove or replace a recalled detector before speaking to a BRK representative.
The Fire Department cannot recommend specific manufacturers. We do recommend that electrical smoke alarms (hard wired) and any battery-operated smoke alarms be U.L. Listed.
Smoke detectors are required on every story of the dwelling unit including the basement. They are to be installed in approved locations and hardwired, interconnected in conformance with the electrical code. NFPA Number 70 and be provided with a battery backup power source. Location of detectors should be:
Watch dead air spaces, i.e., 4-foot by 4-foot ceiling/wall corners; Sidewall mounting allowed advise 9 feet dead center from the ceiling; Kitchens and bathrooms cause nuisance alarms. Manufacturers’ specs call for a five (5) foot clearance or the use of a photoelectric unit is warranted. (If one is a photo, then all units are unless listed with U.L. as compatible).
Nuisance Alarm Control: Some smoke detectors – manufacturers provide a model with a “hush” feature, which momentarily switches to a reduced sensitivity condition. This reduction in sensitivity allows annoying and unwanted alarms to be silenced for approximately fifteen (15) minutes. It is required that a copy of the manufacturer’s specs (user’s manual) for the installation of smoke detectors be left at the construction site. Complete information on replacement maintenance and operation is explained within this manual.
Smoke detectors are required on each level of the premises and outside of each separate sleeping area as a minimum.
For complete coverage in a residential unit, smoke detectors can be installed in every room, in hallways, storage areas, and the basement.
However, we suggest that you:
The landlord is responsible.
Battery operated smoke detectors may be installed within the tenant space in most multiple dwellings provided they are maintained, tested and inspected as follows:
As a tenant, you should test the smoke detectors regularly and report any malfunctions to the owner.