1. #1
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    Default Do we need UL testing ??

    I received this via a long e-mail chain. Cannot vouch for the validity but perhaps HWoods can at least verify the credentials of the author.

    That being said - what are your opinions ??

    June 28, 2005

    Recently, I received a call from a friend of mine who had a question about smoke detectors. He was asking about the need for a Underwriters Laboratories (UL) listing and the value of having it. Upon further discussion, I learned that there is a new line of smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors on the market that do not have UL listing or any other listing on their packaging. This caught my attention.

    Upon further discovery, I learned that First Alert has released their “One-Link” wireless units to the general public without any listing, and are doing this exclusively through The Home Depot stores all across the United States. I have placed several calls of inquiry about this issue and to date:

    First Alert never returned my call.
    The Home Depot did not express any concern over the product not having a UL listing.
    The Consumer Product Safety Commission is looking into the matter.
    The California State Fire Marshal Office (CSFM) has no listing or application on file for approval for the units.
    The Maryland State Fire Marshal has no listing or approval on file for the units as well.

    My concerns are the following: How can a company make a decision to sell a potentially life-saving product that is not listed with an independent, third-party testing laboratory, such as UL, whose mission is to ensure that the product meets a specific standard for operation?

    Secondly, if we in the fire service begin to allow fire safety devices to be sold without a means to test them against the current standard, aren’t we doing the public and ourselves a disservice?

    And finally, I wonder if the product would even pass the listing process, and if that is why the testing was not done?

    I am writing this email as a member of the American fire service who served with the Prince George’s County Fire and EMS Department for 27 years. I am concerned about the safety of the American public when it comes to fire occurrences. Most of all, I am concerned that if we allow fire safety products that do not meet a specific standard to infiltrate the market place, then there could be irreparable damage to all of the great efforts we have put forth in getting the smoke detector movement going in the United States.

    If you feel the same as I do or want to learn more about this significant issue, or just want to weigh in on the discussion, I recommend you contact First Alert (Jarden Corporation) or The Home Depot directly and express your concerns to them. Also, please pass this along to other members of the fire service.

    Jarden Corporation owns First Alert:
    Martin E. Franklin, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Jarden Corporation
    James E. Lillie, President and Chief Operating Officer of Jarden Corporation
    Phone: 914-967-9400
    http://www.jarden.com/phoenix.zhtml?...p=irol-inforeq

    The contact for The Home Depot is:
    John H. Costello, Executive Vice President, Merchandising and Marketing
    Phone: 770-433-8211
    http://www.homedepot.com/prel80/HDUS...tact/index.jsp

    Sincerely,
    Ronald Jon Siarnicki
    Retired Fire Chief
    Prince George’s County, Maryland
    Take Care - Stay Safe - God Bless
    Stephen
    FF/Paramedic
    Instructor

  2. #2
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    Default

    I guess it would depend on the codes in your state. As far as producing them without a UL lable they can. But the codes will tell you where they can (or cannot) be installed as well as if they can even be sold in your area.

    Here, per code, they could only be installed in single family homes. Any multi-residential, assembly or bussiness must have UL or FM aproved detectors.
    Fire Marshal/Safety Officer

    IAAI-NFPA-IAFC/VCOS-Retired IAFF

    "No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government"
    RUSH-Tom Sawyer

    Success is when skill meets opportunity
    Failure is when fantasy meets reality

  3. #3
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    Well, you want some sort of (third party) accountability for safety standards. You'd be amazed at what comes into a place to be tested and what "fails".

    Whether it's FM, ETL, CSA, or UL. UL has been around over 100 years, so you tell me which one you want. However, the smoke alarm in question has no markings -- so, who did the safety testing?

    And yes, the letter in the first post is legit.
    "When I was young, my ambition was to be one of the people who made a difference in this world. My hope is to leave the world a little better for my having been there."
    -- Jim Henson (1936 - 1990)

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    Post credentials

    Chief Ronald Jon Siarnicki, Executive Director National Fallen Firefighters Foundation
    Ronald Jon Siarnicki, the Foundation’s Executive Director, began his career as a firefighter with the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department in 1978 and, over 24 years, progressed through the ranks to Chief of the Department. In this position, he served as the Chief Executive Officer responsible for the fire, rescue and emergency medical services of Prince George's County, Maryland.

    Prior to joining the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department, he served as a volunteer firefighter with the Monessen Volunteer Fire Department, Hose House #2, in western Pennsylvania. In doing so, he followed a family tradition-both his father and grandfather were volunteer firefighters.

    In July 2001, he retired from the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department to take the position of Executive Director of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. In this role, he organized the fire service response to the World Trade Center incident, coordinating support for the Fire Department of New York. He coordinated and managed the 2002 national tribute to America’s fallen fire heroes in Washington, D.C., the largest such tribute ever held.

    Chief Siarnicki delivers presentations at fire and emergency conferences and meetings across the country, increasing awareness of the Foundation. In recognition of his outstanding leadership in the Foundation’s response to the World Trade Center tragedy and his commitment to improving care within the burn care community, he recently received the American Burn Association’s Moncrief Award.

    A strong proponent of higher education, he earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Maryland University College (UMUC). Since 1997, he has served as a UMUC faculty member for the Fire Science Curriculum.


    I have also had the pleasure of having Chief Siarnicki as an instructor.

    Cheffie

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    Default

    If the code requires the systems to be hard wired, these won't pass the muster. BTW, Kidde is putting out the same type of units through Lowe's. I just saw an add locally the other day.

    I'm curious what the range of these units is. I'd certainly hate to have a detector on the same frequency as my neighbor, especially if they use their smoke detector for a timer when they cook.
    Steve Gallagher
    IACOJ BOT
    ----------------------------
    "I don't apologize for anything. When I make a mistake, I take the blame and go on from there." - Woody Hayes

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    Cool UL

    As far as I know and from what I have picked from past programming regarding a history of the UL labs it is not mandated that anyone have their product UL'd. It is strictly discretionary. Of course anybody with a brain would want the product tested and any manufacturer would want it tested if for no other reason than liability. Then again per other posts there are State laws and local ordinances. UL I believe only tests the product for what the manufacture wants to claim about the product.

  7. #7
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    Default

    www.ul.com FAQ's:

    Q: Do I need to have the UL Mark on my product in the US?
    Is there a law stating that my product should have a UL Mark?
    Does our product require UL testing?


    A: Manufacturers submit products to UL for testing and safety certification on a voluntary basis. There are no laws specifying that a UL Mark must be used. However, in the U.S. there are many municipalities that have laws, codes or regulations which require a product to be tested by a nationally recognized testing laboratory before it can be sold in their area. UL is the largest and oldest nationally recognized testing laboratory in the United States. UL does not, however, maintain a list of the jurisdictions having such regulations.

    If you plan to market your product nationally or internationally, it is advisable to obtain UL Listing. If a limited marketing program is anticipated, check with the Municipal office having jurisdiction in the particular areas to learn first hand the local retail ordinances or product installation requirements applicable in that area.

    Many companies make it their policy to obtain UL Listing not only to minimize the possibility of local non-acceptance, but also as a matter of corporate policy and commitment to minimize the possibility of risk in the use of their products.

    And...

    Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) is an independent, not-for-profit product-safety testing and certification organization. We have tested products for public safety for more than a century.

    Since our founding in 1894, we have held the undisputed reputation as a leader in product-safety testing and certification within the United States. Building on our household name in the United States, UL is becoming one of the most recognized, reputable conformity assessment providers in the world. Today, our services extend to helping companies achieve global acceptance, whether for an electrical device, a programmable system, or an organization's quality process.

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    Exclamation Following up

    From www.iafc.org

    Smoke Alarms Removed from Shelves

    July 19, 2005

    Responding to an inquiry from the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), The Home Depot has voluntarily removed three improperly labeled smoke alarm products from their shelves. The products did meet Intertek Testing Services (ETL) standards; however, they were not properly labeled.

    Last week, the IAFC initiated contact with the store concerning products by First Alert that were being sold. The products in question are the wireless smoke alarm (model SA500CN), the wireless smoke and carbon monoxide alarm (model SCO 500CN) and the hardwired smoke alarm (model SA520CN).

    In a letter to IAFC president, Chief Bob DiPoli (Ret.), The Home Depot said “After learning that the product did not technically meet all ETL listing standards, The Home Depot voluntarily began initiating a process to remove the three products from the shelves. Replacement products will include the appropriate labels indicating that they meet ETL standards.” Home Depot Merchandising Vice President – Electrical Brian Robbins went on to say that they take the situation seriously and will continue to monitor it closely to ensure these products are properly labeled before being sold in their stores.
    "When I was young, my ambition was to be one of the people who made a difference in this world. My hope is to leave the world a little better for my having been there."
    -- Jim Henson (1936 - 1990)

  9. #9
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    Lightbulb From the "secret list"

    Three weeks ago I sent you an e-mail expressing my concern about a new line of smoke detectors on the market that do not have UL listing, or any other listing on their packaging. The units are the First Alert “One-Link” wireless alarms. I have heard from many of you who are also very concerned, and I wanted to thank you for your responses and support. Since my last e-mail, I have received new information, and I wanted to update you with what I have learned.

    First, because the product has no listing, the Delaware state fire marshal was the first to ordered HomeDepot to remove the First Alert “One-Link” product from all of its stores, statewide. I understand that fire marshals in New Jersey, Maryland and California are in the process of doing the same. Today I received a notice from the IAFC saying that HomeDepot has voluntarily ordered the removal of these products from their shelves. This is a positive step in the right direction.

    Last week, I got an e-mail from First Alert’s marketing department and was told “I would hope you would talk to us before sending any letters of concern to our corporate leadership” even though my original calls went unanswered. I later received a phone call from one of their engineers, who told me that it was HomeDepot who insisted that First Alert get the “One-Link” product on their shelves even thought it was not listed and that First Alert did it because it was an opportunity they couldn't afford to miss.

    First Alert told me the product will eventually have a listing, but not a UL listing. They are being tested by ETL, a for-profit testing organization that boasts about its quick turnaround --- they say that products can be listed in as little as 15 days, even though some of the required tests have 90 day elements. All of First Alert’s other products up until now have had a UL listing. Why would they now go to market with a non-listed, or ETL listed product? It is also my understanding that ETL is not recognized as a certified testing lab for smoke detectors in a number of states.

    In my 27 years of fire service with the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department, I have seen families torn apart, lives cut short, and devastating property loss occur as a result of fire. When manufacturers start cutting corners to get untested smoke detectors to market, they are placing profit above the industry’s primary mission to save people’s lives. That sets a dangerous and perhaps deadly precedent.

    We, the American Fire Service need to make our voices heard on this important issue. Here’s how you can help:

    I am providing you with a list of addresses and phone numbers so you can forward this e-mail with a note about your concern to First Alert and Home Depot concerning the testing of these and any other electrical products they sell.

    Mr. Robert L. Nardelli
    Chairman, CEO, President and Chairman of Exec. Committee
    Home Depot Inc
    2455 Paces Ferry Road NW
    Atlanta, GA 30339
    Phone: 770-433-8211
    Fax: 770-431-2685

    Martin E. Franklin,
    Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
    Jarden Corporation
    Phone: 914.967.9400
    Fax: 914.967-9405

    Board of Directors
    c/o Corporate Secretary
    Jarden Corporation
    555 Theodore Fremd Avenue, Suite B-302
    Rye, NY 10580.
    BOD@jarden.com

    Mark Colello
    First Alert
    Vice President and General Manager
    3901 Liberty Street Road
    Aurora, Il 60504

    Visit the manager of your local HomeDepot and share your concerns.

    Pass this e-mail on to anyone who you feel can assist in this matter and ask them to speak out as well.

    We need to get a strong message out that these types of products simply must be UL or other approved lab listed before they make it to store shelves. I urge you to make your opinion known on this issue so that the people in your area whose lives you protect can better protect themselves when they buy fire safety products.

    Sincerely,

    Ronald Jon Siarnicki
    Retired Fire Chief
    Prince George’s County, Maryland
    "When I was young, my ambition was to be one of the people who made a difference in this world. My hope is to leave the world a little better for my having been there."
    -- Jim Henson (1936 - 1990)

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