Commission Warns Consumers on Dry Fire Sprinklers

WASHINGTON

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is warning consumers regarding approximately 400,000 Star ME-1 dry fire sprinklers manufactured from 1983 through 1995 by Sprinkler Corp. of Milwaukee Inc. (SCM), formerly known as Star Sprinkler Corp.

The fire sprinkler company is no longer in operation and has no assets. As a result, it is unable to conduct a recall, and no free replacement or refund is available for its sprinklers. Nevertheless, building owners are urged to follow CPSC guidance by inspecting the sprinkler systems in their buildings and replacing any Star ME-1 fire sprinklers manufactured from 1983 through 1995.

The CPSC reports that samples of Star ME-1 dry sprinklers removed from several locations and tested by independent testing laboratories did not operate as intended. The commission has received reports of two failures involving Star ME-1 dry sprinklers. One report involved a 1976 sprinkler, and the other, sprinklers installed in 1990.

The commission warns that these sprinklers present a safety risk and should immediately be replaced. This warning follows the resolution of an administrative proceeding filed by CPSC in October 2001. It alleged that the sprinklers are defective and are likely to fail to operate in a fire, exposing consumers to the risk of death or serious injury.

The types of facilities in which the sprinklers were installed include nursing homes, convalescent and long-term care facilities, supermarkets and other stores, warehouses, hospitals, and office buildings.

Replacing these sprinklers also complies with the requirements of the recently revised National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 25, “Standard for the Inspection, Testing and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems.” Specifically, NFPA 25 now advises that all dry sprinklers that have been in service for 10 years or more should be immediately replaced or tested. Star ME-1 fire sprinklers produced before 1994 are specifically subject to this requirement.

For more information on the SCM Star ME-1 fire sprinklers, call CPSC’s hotline at (800) 638- 2772 or go to www.nfsa.org.

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