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CO Poisoning

The currently recognized Standard for Smoke Alarms, CAN/ULC-S531, has been in effect since January 1991 and has undergone three amendments. The Standard was developed by a committee under the secretariat of Underwriters' Laboratories of Canada with input from consumer groups, fire safety experts, government officials, manufacturers, insurers, and others involved in consensus-type standards development. The standard has 30 performance and 20 construction categories encompassing approximately 110 individual tests that involve audibility, sensitivity, performance, various environmental conditions, interference, accelerated aging, mechanical, and false alarm reduction concerns.

Finally, if there is any credibility to W-Five's alleged test results, ULC will take any and all steps necessary to deal with substantiated deficiencies in testing protocol. In the meantime, we especially urge consumers to continue using smoke alarms in their homes. If you choose to replace technologies, do not discontinue use of your existing smoke alarm . Test smoke alarms in accordance with manufacturer instructions, check and change batteries as needed and develop a fire escape plan that is practiced regularly - it is vital to have more than one well-rehearsed escape route. Properly installed and maintained smoke alarms do help save lives, but are just part of a complete fire safety plan. Every household should have ULC-Listed fire extinguishers strategically placed in rooms such as the kitchen, garage or workshop. Finally, it is also important to remember that, regardless of what type of alarm is in your home, you should replace all smoke alarms at least every ten years and regularly test and change their batteries.

Scarborough, Ontario, October 22, 1999 - With cooler autumn weather upon us and the heating season underway, Underwriters' Laboratories of Canada (ULC) is once again reminding the public about the importance of installing and testing ULC certified carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in homes that have fuel burning appliances such as furnaces, ovens, stoves and water heaters, as well as homes with fireplaces and attached garages. ULC and BRK Brands, Inc., Aurora, Ill., are also warning consumers that certain older, battery-operated BRK Brands, Family Gard, and First Alert CO alarm models equipped with SensorPacks® may have reached the end of their service life and may fail to operate as required in the presence of CO.

ULC and BRK Brands, Inc. urge consumers who have purchased or installed the following CO alarm models manufactured by BRK Brands, Inc. to immediately replace the SensorPack®: "BRKCO," BRKDCO," "CO1000B," "CO1120B," "FACO," "FCD1," FCD1AC," "NICO," and "NICOAC." According to BRK Brands, Inc., retailers have been contacted and encouraged to remove any remaining inventory of affected models from store shelves, along with any of the separately sold replacement SensorPacks® that are more than two years old.

These CO alarms can be readily identified by their round shape and a sliding drawer containing the SensorPack®. A model code is printed on the back of the alarm, and a date code is printed on the SensorPack®.

Consumers are urged to contact BRK Brands, Inc. directly at 1.800.323.9005 for assistance in determining the age of the SensorPack® or in obtaining a replacement SensorPack®.

These units may emit a periodic signal as frequently as every five to seven minutes, which may indicate either the presence of CO or the SensorPack® needs replacement. Because CO may be present when the alarm sounds, ULC and BRK Brands, Inc. recommend family members gather immediately to determine if anyone feels any symptoms of CO poisoning (including nausea, fatigue, headaches, dizziness, confusion and breathing difficulties). If symptoms of CO poisoning are present, immediately evacuate the premises and call 911. If there is no threat of CO, and the unit is emitting an alarm or periodic signal, consumers should not rely on these units to detect the presence of CO and should immediately arrange to replace the SensorPack®.

ULC certified CO alarms play an important role in home safety. Thousands of lives have been saved because of the operation of these lifesafety devices. ULC strongly urges consumers to continue using CO alarms.


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