While the NEMA Signaling, Protection and Communication Section (03SB) was meeting in Seattle last week and discussing the latest research, codes, regulations and legislation impacting smoke/fire and carbon monoxide detection, a story broke in Atlanta that is downright scary: thousands of counterfeit smoke alarms were installed in Atlanta homes by the city's fire department.

CBS Atlanta broke the story last Wednesday, citing an investigation that found that over 18,000 counterfeit photoelectric smoke alarms had been installed in the homes of low-income families by the Atlanta Department of Fire & Rescue as part of its Smoke Alarm Program. The alarms in question bear a fake UL hologram and, according to news reports, were purchased from a California company led by a career criminal. Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran has issued a recall of the alarms, and Atlanta residents suspected of having one in their homes are advised to call the recall hotline at (404) 546-2733 or send an email to smokealarm@atlantaga.gov.

In recent years, NEMA and the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) have been focused on anti-counterfeiting initiatives and educating the public on the dangers posed by counterfeit electrical products. Unlike a knock-off handbag or watch, use of counterfeit electrical products – or smoke alarms – severely compromises safety and leads to a false sense of security.

It is true…"Counterfeits Can Kill." 


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