The Consumer Product Safety Commission responds to CBS Atlanta's exclusive investigation into counterfeit smoke detectors. It said the smoke detectors are putting lives in danger.
The Atlanta Fire Rescue Department handed out more than 18,500 of them since 2006. They went to high-risk, low-income areas, to the people who need them most.
Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran recalled the smoke detectors as a result of CBS Atlanta's investigation.
"We're pulling out all the stops to identify and recall and replace these smoke alarms as soon as possible," said Cochran.
The counterfeit smoke detectors have three, five-slotted vents on the front. On the back, there is a fake hologram UL label. In order to bear the UL mark, Underwriters Laboratories puts smoke detectors through rigorous tests to determine if they meet national safety standards.
In this case, the company said the smoke detectors "would not meet current UL safety requirements." Now, the CPSC is alerting the nation. It did its own independent testing of the counterfeit smoke detectors.It found:
the detectors pose a life safety hazard,
they perform poorly and inconsistently
sensitivity settings varied greatly between alarms
some alarms did not respond within adequate time
some alarms did not respond at all
CBS Atlanta News conducted its own unscientific test, but one that is recognized by some fire experts, and got similar results.
Reporter Jennifer Mayerle put polyurethane foam inside an aquarium, like what you might find in your home in a pillow or cushion, and then added a UL-approved smoke detector and a counterfeit smoke detector.
The last step was adding a hot soldering iron. Mayerle stepped back and let it smolder.The approved smoke detector alerted almost four times faster and was twice as loud. The counterfeit smoke detector didn't alert until the entire aquarium was full of smoke, too late to alert someone to get out in case of a smoldering fire.CBS Atlanta alerted many residents about the fake smoke detectors and replaced their fake smoke detector with a working one.
"I thank God and CBS for putting this out, because it's dangerous," said resident Denitrice Banks.
The CPSC will officially release its results Friday morning. In its press release given to CBS Atlanta on Thursday, it said, "Counterfeit alarms can put lives at risk. Working smoke alarms that meet the voluntary standards are proven to save lives."
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