Announced Detector Recall – First Alert
Thousands of First Alert smoke and carbon-monoxide detectors in Centre County may be eligible for replacement under a voluntary recall announced Monday. First Alert and its parent, BRK Brands Inc., announced the recall two months after Centre Region code officials pressed the company to acknowledge problems with its OneLink detectors. The recall applies only to OneLink devices that connect wirelessly to one another, and the company said that owners should keep the detectors in place until replacements arrive.
As many as 50,000 OneLink detectors nationwide may be faulty. About 7,000 are thought to be in or near the State College area, where they gained popularity this year after local officials strengthened fire-safety rules for rental housing. The affected models are the SA500 and the SCO500. They bear date codes printed before March 3. Ed Comeau, director of the Center for Campus Fire Safety in Massachusetts, said he was pleased that First Alert “is finally getting something out there” to correct the OneLink problem. “I understand the need to develop a solution and a fix,” Comeau said. “But if you have a product out there that could create a potentially hazardous situation, you should alert the public to it.” Phone and e-mail messages left for First Alert on Monday were not answered.
The company, based in Aurora, Ill., has placed a link to recall information at www.firstalert.com. First Alert, in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, has determined that some battery-powered OneLink detectors “may experience a premature low-battery condition,” the company wrote in a statement Monday. State College apartment owners began discovering the problem back in January. Batteries that were supposed to last a year or longer were wearing out within weeks. Because of the problem, municipal leaders have given apartment owners extra time to come into compliance with the new safety rules. “I would say I’m very disappointed in the fact that the company sold faulty technology,” State College Councilman Jeff Kern said.
The delay, he said, has cost tenants some measure of protection, “and that’s not good.” As long as they have power, the OneLink detectors should be able to sense smoke and carbon monoxide and to sound an alarm. Also, they should sound an audible warning when their power level is low. The CPSC declined to comment. First Alert is advising OneLink owners to test the batteries every week. To request a replacement device, call (800) 323-9005 between 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Each caller should identify his or her name, telephone number and mailing address, plus the number of units to be replaced and their date code, the company said on its Web site. It said replacement alarms should be shipped within weeks. Adam Smeltz can be reached at 231-4631.
Source: Centre Daily Times